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The effect of clipping the left renal artery on left and right kidney renin mRNA levels during the early and chronic phases of two-kidney, one clip Goldblatt hypertension in the rat was studied. Renin mRNA levels were determined using northern and dot blotting. Four weeks after clipping, renin mRNA levels were sixfold higher in the left kidney and eightfold lower in the right kidney of the Goldblatt rats compared with the left kidney of the sham-operated rats. Similar analysis at 20 weeks after clipping showed a fourfold increase in the left kidney and a 16-fold suppression in the right kidney compared with age-matched sham-operated control rats. The study demonstrates the profound changes that occur in renin gene expression in the clipped and contralateral kidneys in this model of hypertension and shows that these changes persist into the chronic phase of the hypertension.