Since it has been suggested that angiotensin (Ang) (1-7) functions as an antihypertensive peptide, we studied its effect on the Ang II-enhanced norepinephrine (NE) release evoked by K+ in hypothalami isolated from aortic coarcted hypertensive (CH) rats. The endogenous NE stores were labeled by incubation of the tissues with 3H-NE during 30 min, and after 90 min of washing, they were incubated in Krebs solution containing 25 mM KCl in the absence or presence of the peptides. Ang-(1-7) not only diminished the K+-evoked NE release from hypothalami of CH rats, but also blocked the Ang II-enhanced NE release induced by K+. Ang-(1-7) blocking action on the Ang II response was prevented by [D-Ala7]Ang-(1-7), an Ang-(1-7) specific antagonist, by PD 123319, an AT2-receptor antagonist, and by Hoe 140, a B2 receptor antagonist. Ang-(1-7) inhibitory effect on the Ang II facilitatory effect on K+-stimulated NE release disappeared in the presence of Nomega-nitro-L-arginine methylester and was restored by L-arginine. Our present results suggest that Ang-(1-7) may contribute to blood pressure regulation by blocking Ang II actions on NE release at the central level. This inhibitory effect is a nitric oxide-mediated mechanism involving AT2 receptors and/or Ang-(1-7) specific receptors and local bradykinin generation.