1. The relationship between vasopressin and the progression of renal failure has been proposed, but not intensively investigated because of a lack of orally available, selective vasopressin antagonists. 2. The effects of novel, orally available vasopressin V1 and V2 receptor antagonists on several indices of the progression of chronic renal failure, i.e. blood pressure, urinary protein excretion, sodium balance and renal histopathology, were investigated by using Wistar rats with adriamycin-induced nephropathy accelerated by deoxycorticosterone acetate-salt hypertension. Groups 2 and 3 were treated with V1 and V2 antagonists, respectively, while the untreated group 1 served as the control. To block the effects of vasopressin efficaciously, V1 and V2 antagonists were simultaneously administered (group 4). 3. At week 6, 2 weeks after the beginning of administration of deoxycorticosterone acetate-salt and vasopressin antagonists after the second injection of adriamycin, V1 and V2 antagonists given either alone or in combination significantly reduced the systolic blood pressure as compared with the control, and urine volume was increased in groups 3 and 4. The proteinuria was also decreased at week 10 in groups 2, 3 and 4. Differences in sodium excretion between all groups were not significant. Histopathological alterations in the kidneys of group 4 were significantly ameliorated. 4. These results suggest that a combination of V1 and V2 antagonists can have therapeutic effects in certain types of chronic renal failure.