1. The hypotensive response to captopril in anaesthetized spontanously hypertensive rats (SHR) is not modified by bilateral nephrectomy performed 1 or 24 h previously. 2. Intracerebroventricular injection (i.c.v.) of captopril (2 mg kg-1) significantly lowered blood pressure of conscious SHR over a 7-h period of observation but there was no significant blood pressure response to i.c.v. vehicle, or to intravenous captopril (2 mg kg-1) in SHR. 3. There was no significant blood pressure response to captopril (2 mg kg-1) i.c.v. in the normotensive Wistar Kyoto controls (NT-WK). 4. These results indicate that captopril can lower the blood pressure of SHR by mechanisms independent of the kidneys or the circulating renin-angiotensin system. 5. The hypotensive effect of central captopril in SHR but not in the NT-WK suggests biochemical differences between the brains of the two rat strains.