In this study, the relation between renin activity and therapeutic response to hydrochlorothiazide or propranolol was studied. Patients with a diastolic blood pressure of 95 to 114 mm Hg were treated with propranolol (40 to 320 mg twice daily) or hydrochlorothiazide (25 to 100 mg twice daily). The initial renin profiles were: low, 56 percent (n = 300); normal, 33 percent (n = 174); high, 11 percent (n = 60). A greater incidence of low and fewer high renin profiles (p less than 0.001) were observed in blacks. After furosemide administration (40 mg intravenously), 55 percent of patients (n = 291) had a low renin response and 45 percent (n = 240) had a normal renin response. No correlation between renin profile and renin response was observed, although low renin response and low renin profile occurred more frequently in older patients. Hydrochlorothiazide administration resulted in a greater decrement in diastolic blood pressure (p less than 0.05) in the total group. Irrespective of renin activity, both hydrochlorothiazide and propranolol reduced diastolic blood pressure. When renin profile was considered, no significant variation in response to hydrochlorothiazide therapy was observed, and there was a greater reduction in diastolic blood pressure in the patients with a high renin profile receiving propranolol. In comparing therapeutic response, patients with a low renin profile had a better response to hydrochlorothiazide, and propranolol was more effective in patients with a high renin profile. The anticipated effect of therapy on plasma renin activity was observed. Although these results are consistent with a volume-vasoconstrictor analysis of hypertension, the results of therapy could not have been prejudged from renin profile or responsivity. The slight differences observed do not warrant the expense of renin determinations when a simple determination of therapeutic response is sufficient.