Inhibition of neutral endopeptidase (NEP) in the kidney was studied ex vivo after oral administration of candoxatril (UK79300), an NEP inhibitor, to rats to study the time course and dose response by quantitative in vitro autoradiography by using the NEP inhibitor 125I-SCH47896 as a radioligand. In control rats, high NEP binding was demonstrated in the deep proximal tubule. After oral administration of candoxatril (10 mg/kg), kidney NEP binding was rapidly decreased and recovered gradually over a period of 24 h. The inhibition was maximal at 1 h (13.3 ± 2.5% of control). Increasing doses of candoxatril administered to rats produced progressive inhibition of NEP binding in the kidney. A dose of 100 mg/kg inhibited kidney NEP binding to 2.6 ± 0.2% of the control value at 1 h after administration. Candoxatrilat (UK73967), an active metabolite of candoxatril, given intravenously inhibited kidney NEP binding also in a time- and dose-dependent manner. This inhibition of NEP activity at the tissue level may be important in the actions of NEP inhibitors.