Lifetime treatment with captopril prevents the development of hypertension in spontaneously hypertensive rats (SHR). This study tests the hypothesis that compared to untreated hypertensive SHR, captopril-treated SHR display similar diuretic and natriuretic responses to an isotonic saline infusion despite significantly lower arterial pressure. Eight-week-old, male SHR were instrumented with femoral arterial, venous, and bladder catheters. Forty-eight hours later, each rat was infused intravenously with an isotonic saline load (5% of body weight; 0.5 ml/min). Lifetime captopril-treated SHR and untreated control SHR displayed nearly identical natriuretic and diuretic responses to the saline infusion. Thus, although lifetime captopril treatment significantly reduces mean arterial pressure in SHR, renal excretory responses appear to be unaltered. Moreover, histological examination of the kidneys of the lifetime captopril-treated SHR did not reveal significant structural damage in the kidneys at either 8 weeks of age or at 12 months of age. Together, the data suggest that lifetime captopril treatment does not adversely affect renal function and structure in SHR.