We examined the effect of angiotensin II (ANG II) on epithelial Na(+) channel (ENaC) in the rat cortical collecting duct (CCD) with single-channel and the perforated whole cell patch-clamp recording. Application of 50 nM ANG II increased ENaC activity, defined by NP(o) (a product of channel numbers and open probability), and the amiloride-sensitive whole cell Na currents by twofold. The stimulatory effect of ANG II on ENaC was absent in the presence of losartan, suggesting that the effect of ANG II on ENaC was mediated by ANG II type 1 receptor. Moreover, depletion of intracellular Ca(2+) with 1,2-bis(2-aminophenoxy)ethane-N,N,N',N'-tetraacetic acid (BAPTA)-AM failed to abolish the stimulatory effect of ANG II on ENaC but inhibiting protein kinase C (PKC) abolished the effect of ANG II, suggesting that the effect of ANG II was the result of stimulating Ca(2+)-independent PKC. This notion was also suggested by the experiments in which stimulation of PKC with phorbol ester derivative mimicked the effect of ANG II and increased amiloride-sensitive Na currents in the principal cell, an effect that was not abolished by treatment of the CCD with BAPTA-AM. Also, inhibition of NADPH oxidase (NOX) with diphenyleneiodonium chloride abolished the stimulatory effect of ANG II on ENaC and application of superoxide donors, pyrogallol or xanthine and xanthine oxidase, significantly increased ENaC activity. Moreover, addition of ANG II or H(2)O(2) diminished the arachidonic acid (AA)-induced inhibition of ENaC in the CCD. We conclude that ANG II stimulates ENaC in the CCD through a Ca(2+)-independent PKC pathway that activates NOX thereby increasing superoxide generation. The stimulatory effect of ANG II on ENaC may be partially the result of blocking AA-induced inhibition of ENaC.