Based on the assumption that the pharmacophoric groups interacting with the Y1 receptor are located in the C-terminal part of neuropeptide Y, low molecular weight compounds with high affinity and selectivity for the Y1 receptor were designed and synthesized. The prototype BIBP 3226 possesses affinity for the Y1 receptor in the nanomolar range. In addition, this compound is selective displaying rather low affinity for Y2, Y3, Y4 and a set of 60 other receptors. Both biochemical and pharmacological studies showed that BIBP 3226 behaves as a competitive antagonist. Using BIBP 3226 it was possible to investigate the role of NPY and/or Y1 receptors in blood pressure regulation. The interesting observation was that antagonism to Y1 receptors had no major influence on the basal blood pressure but attenuated stress induced hypertension. This strongly supports the hypothesis that NPY is mainly released during stress involving intense sympathetic nervous system activation. Moreover, BIBP 3226 can be used to characterize NPY receptor subtypes. For instance, we were able to show that presynaptic NPY receptors mediating catecholamine release do not solely belong to the Y2 subtype, but that presynaptic Y1 receptors also exist. In conclusion, BIBP 3226 has been shown to be an important tool for the elucidation of the physiological role of Y1 receptors in the cardiovascular system.