We have investigated the effects of endogenous angiotensin II (ANG II) on hepatic angiotensinogen mRNA levels in rats. Changes in endogenous ANG II were induced by various sodium intakes (standard-, low-, and high-sodium) or by enalapril treatment. In a low sodium state for 2 weeks, angiotensinogen mRNA levels and plasma ANG II concentration increased 1.3-fold and 1.6-fold compared to those in standard sodium state, respectively. In a high sodium state, angiotensinogen mRNA levels and plasma ANG II concentration decreased by 42% and 56% compared to the standard sodierm state, respectively. Four hours after treatment with enalapril (3 mg/kg), angiotensinogen mRNA level and plasma ANG II concentration decreased by 25% and 12% compared to the standard sodium state, respectively. There was a close correlation between angiotensinogen mRNA level and plasma ANG II concentration (r = 0.79, P less than 0.01). These results suggest that endogenous ANG II may play an important role in the regulation of hepatic angiotensinogen synthesis.