To explore the mechanisms of the renal effects of neutral endopeptidase (NEP) inhibition, the effects of an NEP inhibitor, candoxatril (UK 79,300; UK), in Dahl salt-sensitive (SS) and salt-resistant (SR) rats were examined. UK dose-dependently decreased blood pressure (BP) in SS rats (20 mg/kg: 174 ± 5 vs. 155 ± 8 mm Hg, p < 0.01) but not in SR rats. Urinary sodium excretion (UNaV) of both rat strains receiving high-salt diets was increased to a greater extent than that of rats receiving low-salt diets. Basal plasma atrial natriuretic peptide (ANP) level in hypertensive SS rats was higher than in SR rats (192 ± 18 vs. 118 ± 24 pg/ml, p < 0.05). UK increased ANP levels in the plasma and urine two- and 11-fold, respectively. UK-induced increases in UNaV, urinary cyclic GMP, and plasma ANP concentrations were significantly augmented by coadministration of a clearance receptor agonist, C-ANF(4–23) or brain natriuretic peptide (BNP). Thus, the effects of NEP inhibition appear to be potentiated by the reduced receptor-mediated metabolism of ANP. This may explain the greater response to the NEP inhibitor in Dahl rats with hypertension or high-salt feeding.