We recently reported that high dietary NaCl exposure significantly increases both daytime and nighttime mean arterial pressure in male spontaneously hypertensive rats (SHR) but only nighttime values in male normotensive Wistar-Kyoto rats (WKY). In the present study we used a telemetry monitoring system to evaluate the effects of high dietary NaCl exposure on diurnal variation of mean arterial pressure and heart rate in male and female SHR and WKY. After implantation of a radio-frequency transducer, rats were fed either high (8%) or basal (1%) NaCl diets for 2 weeks. High dietary NaCl ingestion significantly increased both daytime and nighttime mean arterial pressure in male SHR compared with males receiving a basal NaCl diet, resulting in greater 24-hour values (163±1 versus 154±1 mm H/g, high versus basal NaCl diet; P<.05). High dietary NaCl ingestion significantly increased only nighttime blood pressure in male WKY, with no significant effect on 24-hour mean arterial pressure (102±2 versus 101±3 mm Hg, high versus basal). High dietary NaCl exposure did not affect daytime or nighttime mean arterial pressure in female SHR (24-hour mean arterial pressure, 144±2 versus 141±2 mm Hg, high versus basal NaCl diet). Twenty- four-hour mean arterial pressure tended to be lower in female WKY receiving a high NaCl diet than females ingesting a basal diet (101±3 versus 106±1 mm Hg), but the difference was not significant. These results indicate a sexually dimorphic response to dietary NaCl ingestion, with males of both strains manifesting some degree of NaCl sensitivity, whereas females are NaCl resistant.