The effect of 24-hour unilateral ureteral obstruction (UUO) on the expression and regulation of the renin-angiotensin system (RAS) in rats and of pretreatment with lisinopril (5 mg/kg/day) or the AT1-R inhibitor, losartan, (10 mg/kg/day) on renal hemodynamics was evaluated. Both drugs improved the post-obstructed kidney (POK) renal hemodynamics, lowered MAP, and normalized eicosanoid excretion by the POK. Cortex and medulla POK:CK ratio of relative density R mRNA was approximately 3.5 for both. Sham, POK, and CK showed renin immunoreactivity and R mRNA exclusively in juxtaglomerular position. In addition, in POK renin was expressed in mesangial cells, along greater lengths of afferent arterioles and in dilated distal tubules and loops of Henle. In situ hybridization revealed that approximately 20% more glomeruli in POK than CK overexpressed R mRNA. Blood vessels of POK consistently showed greater ACE and Ao mRNA expression than CK. Overexpression of the genes coding for members of the RAS is possibly responsible for local Ang II production which, in view of the response to CEI and AT1-R inhibitors, is at least partly responsible for the severe hemodynamic changes in UUO.