Angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors, both teprotide and captopril, induce a potentiated renal vascular response in patients with essential hypertension, and with that a consistent increase in sodium excretion and occasionally an increase in glomerular filtration rate. In patients with advanced congestive heart failure resistant to other vasodilators, a similar triad occurs. It is not yet clear in which settings the renal response to angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibition reflects a reduction in angiotensin II formation--thus implicating the renin-angiotensin system in the pathogenesis--or an additional action, such as a potentiation of the local actions of bradykinin or enhanced prostaglandin formation. Under some circumstances, especially where a qualitatively and quantitatively similar response occurs to angiotensin antagonists and angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors or where an angiotensin antagonist prevents an additional response to a converting enzyme inhibitor, it is clear that the specific action of the converting enzyme inhibitor on angiotensin II formation is responsible. Unfortunately, for most responses in animal models and all responses in patients, such rigorous evidence is not yet available.