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To determine whether the renal kallikrein–kinin and dopamine systems participate in lowering blood pressure during mild exercise in hypertensives.After a general clinical observation period of 4 weeks, 27 essential hypertensives were divided into two groups. The exercise group underwent blood lactate threshold exercise, using a cycle ergometer for 60 min three times a week for 10 weeks. The non-exercise group was observed at the outpatient clinic. Blood pressure and humoral parameters were measured at weeks 0, 1, 2, 4 and 10 in both groups.Blood pressure was measured indirectly with an automatic blood pressure recorder. Twenty-four-hour urinary kallikrein activity (by kininogenase assay), total or free dopamine and total noradrenaline (by high-performance liquid chromatography) were also measured.In the non-exercise group blood pressure and humoral parameters did not change. In the exercise group the change in resting blood pressure between weeks 0 and 10 was statistically significant. The change in 24-h urinary kallikrein activity of the exercise group was significantly greater than that of the non-exercise group between weeks 0 and 1 and weeks 0 and 2. Moreover, the change in systolic blood pressure (SBP) between weeks 0 and 2 was negatively correlated with the change in urinary kallikrein activity between weeks 0 and 2, the change in total dopamine between weeks 0 and 2 was negatively correlated with the change in diastolic blood pressure in the same period, and the change in SBP between weeks 0 and 10 was positively correlated with the change in total noradrenaline in the same period in the exercise group. Subjects with a relatively high baseline urinary kallikrein activity had a significantly greater change in SBP between weeks 0 and 10 than subjects with a relatively low baseline activity.The renal kallikrein—kinin and dopamine systems may participate in lowering blood pressure during the first few weeks of exercise training. The subsequent reduction of sympathetic activity may be involved in maintaining the lowered blood pressure. Mild exercise is more effective in reducing blood pressure in hypertensives who have a relatively high basal renal kallikrein-kinin system activity.