The effects of dexamethasone (DEX) on systolic blood pressure, sodium balance and the renin-angiotensin system were studied in rats. DEX significantly increased systolic blood pressure within three days of its administration, but this effect of DEX on blood pressure was not enhanced by concurrent use of saline solution. In DEX-treated rats, urine volume was significantly increased and urinary sodium excretion showed a tendency toward a slight increase compared to control rats. On the 8th day of DEX administration, plasma renin substrate (PRS) was significantly elevated compared to control rats, whereas plasma aldosterone concentration (PAC) was not significantly different from that of control rats. These results suggest that hypertension induced by DEX may not be dependent on sodium retention or activation of the renin-angiotensin system.