Angiotensin II (AII)- and Arg8-vasopressin (AVP)-regulated gene expression in vascular cells has been reported to contribute to vascular homeostasis and hypertrophy. In this report, AVP-induced expression of plasminogen activator inhibitor (PAI)-2 mRNA in rat microvessel endothelial (RME) cells was identified using differential mRNA display. Further characterization of vasoactive peptide effects on PAI expression revealed that AII stimulated a 44.8 +/- 25.2-fold and a 12.4 +/- 3.2-fold increase in PAI-2 mRNA in RME cells and rat aortic smooth muscle cells (RASMC), respectively. AII also stimulated a 10- and 48-fold increase in PAI-1 mRNA in RME cells and RASMC, respectively. These AII effects were inhibited by either Sar1, Ile8-angiotensin or the AT1 antagonist DuP 735, but were not significantly altered in the presence of the AT2 antagonist PD123319. AII stimulation of RASMC and RME cells also significantly increased both PAI-1 protein and PAI activity released to the culture medium. Inhibition of protein kinase C completely blocked PMA-stimulated induction of PAI-2 mRNA in both cell types and inhibited the AII-stimulated increase in RASMC by 98.6 +/- 2.8%. In contrast, protein kinase C inhibition only partially decreased the AII-stimulated PAI-2 expression in RME cells by 68.8 +/- 11.1%, suggesting that a protein kinase C-independent mechanism contributes to a 6.9 +/- 1.5-fold AII induction of PAI-2 expression in endothelial cells. AII and PMA also stimulated protein tyrosine phosphorylation in RME cells, and the tyrosine kinase inhibitor genistein partially blocked their induction of PAI-2 mRNA. These findings suggest that AII may regulate plasminogen activation in the vasculature by inducing both PAI-1 and PAI-2 expression.