It was recently reported that interleukin-2, when administered as a single bolus injection (5,000 units/kg), could prevent the development of hypertension in young spontaneously hypertensive rats and lower blood pressure to normotensive levels in spontaneously hypertensive rats with established hypertension. Consequently, efforts were made to duplicate this finding. Male spontaneously hypertensive rats (35 days old) were injected subcutaneously with 50,000 units/kg (3,500 units/rat) of recombinant interleukin-2 (Amgen) and had systolic blood pressure measured twice weekly by the tail-cuff technique. Systolic blood pressure in the interleukin-2-treated group was not significantly different from the vehicle-treated control group at any time point over 32 days of follow-up. A second injection of recombinant interleukin-2 (5,000 units/kg) was administered 32 days after the first injection. Again, no reduction in blood pressure was observed in the interleukin-2-treated group over an additional 38 days. Mean arterial pressure (±SEM) measured via intra-arterial cannula in conscious rats at age 105 days (38 days after the second treatment) was 168.5±3.5 mm Hg in interleukin-2-treated spontaneously hypertensive rats and 170.3±3.6 mm Hg in vehicle-treated controls. Both recombinant interleukin-2 preparations conformed to their respective manufacturer's indicated specific activity as determined by the ability of the interleukin-2 to induce proliferation of the interleukin-2-dependent cell line HT-2. Thus, this study demonstrated that interleukin-2 was ineffective in preventing or attenuating hypertension in spontaneously hypertensive rats.