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To investigate phenotypic consequences of renin gene polymorphism between Lyon hypertensive (LH) and normotensive (LN) rats because previously we demonstrated cosegregation of the LH allele with increased blood pressure in a cross of LH with LN rats.Two studies were conducted. Study 1 used a cohort of male F2 rats from a LH × LN cross. Eighty-two rats homozygous for the hypertensive (HH) renin gene allele were compared with 82 rats homozygous for the normotensive (NN) allele. Urinary steroid excretion was measured in 24 h urine samples collected from rats aged 6 weeks. The direct aortic blood pressure was recorded in 30-week-old rats and, after they had been killed, their kidney renin concentration (KRC) was measured. In study 2, renin, angiotensinogen and angiotensin converting enzyme plasma concentrations and renin messenger RNA (mRNA) levels were measured in renal and extra-renal tissues from 6- and 25-week-old LH and LN parental and HH and NN F2 male rats.Urinary steroids and plasma components of the renin–angiotensin system (RAS) were measured using specific radioimmunoassays. mRNA levels were quantified by northern blotting.In study 1, HH F2 rats had a higher blood pressure (151.5 ± 8.2 versus 146.0 ± 7.4 mmHg, P <0.001) and a lower KRC (514 ± 203 versus 666 ± 304 μg A1/h per g cortex, P <0.01) than did NN rats aged 30 weeks. In covariate analysis the decrease in KRC in HH rats was attributable to their increased blood pressure rather than to the renin genotype. The renin genotype of rats aged 6 weeks was not associated with a change in the urinary excretion of aldosterone, desoxycorticosterone, corticosterone or 18-hydroxy desoxycorticosterone. In study 2, we found no difference either in plasma levels of RAS components or in renal or extra-renal renin mRNA levels either between parental LH and LN rats or between HH and NN F2 rats apart from a higher plasma renin concentration in LH rats aged 6 weeks. Renal, but not extra-renal, renin mRNA levels declined with age.We found no evidence of a renin genotypedependent phenotypic difference in the RAS that could account for the effect of the renin locus on blood pressure in Lyon rats. Our findings suggest that the effect of the locus on blood pressure might be due to an as yet unidentified gene linked to renin.