Regulator of G protein signaling-2 (RGS-2) plays a key role in the G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) angiotensin II (Ang II) signaling. NO and cGMP exert a vasodilating action also through activation and binding to RGS-2 of cGMP dependent protein kinase 1-alpha, which phosphorylates RGS-2 and dephosphorylates myosin light chain. In Bartter's/Gitelman's patients (BS/GS) Ang II related signaling and vasomotor tone are blunted. Experiments were planned to explore whether RGS-2 may play a role in BS/GS vascular hyporeactivity. NO metabolites and cGMP urinary excretion were also measured. Mononuclear cells (PBM) from six BS/GS patients and six healthy controls were used. PBM RGS-2 mRNA and RGS-2 protein were increased in BS/GS: 0.47 +/- 0.06 d.u. vs 0.32 +/- 0.04, (p < 0.006) (RGS-2 mRNA), and 0.692 +/- 0.02 vs 0.363 +/- 0.06 (p < 0.0001) (RGS2 protein). Incubation of PBM with Ang II increased RGS-2 protein in controls (from 0.363 +/- 0.06 d.u. to 0.602 +/- 0.05; p < 0.0001) but not in BS/GS (from 0.692 +/- 0.02 to 0.711 +/- 0.02). NO(2)(-)/NO(3)(-) and cGMP urinary excretion were increased in BS/GS (0.46 +/- 0.13 vs 0.26 +/- 0.05 micromol/micromol of urinary creatinine, p < 0.005, and 0.060 +/- 0.030 vs 0.020 +/- 0.01 p < 0.009, respectively). These results demonstrate that RGS-2 is increased and maximally stimulated in BS/GS and human RGS-2 system reacts as predicted by knockout mice experiments. This is the first report of RGS-2 level in a human clinical condition characterized by altered vascular tone, underlines the importance of RGS-2 as a key regulator element for Ang II signaling and provides insight into the links between BS/GS genetic abnormalities and abnormal vascular tone regulation.