Microiontophoretic ejection of angiotensin II and angiotensin IV in the vicinity of geniculate neurons was used to study the effects of these peptides on the discharge rate and the discharge pattern of extracellularly recorded activity. The main aim of the experiments was to study the effects of angiotensins in different strains of rats anesthetized with urethane (normotensive Wistar, normotensive Sprague-Dawley and hypertensive, transgenic (TGR(mREN2)27) rats). Both angiotensins mostly increased the spontaneous activity of angiotensin-sensitive geniculate neurons in all strains. Angiotensin II reduced the number of bursts in most neurons, whereas angiotensin IV significantly enhanced it. Inhibitory effects of angiotensins on spontaneous as well as on light-evoked activity could be effectively blocked by GABA(A) or GABA(B) receptor antagonists. Therefore, it can be supposed that angiotensin-containing afferent fibers innervate both projection and local circuit neurons of the dorsal lateral geniculate nucleus. In addition, angiotensin II suppressed excitation induced by glutamate receptor agonists in most neurons tested. Angiotensin-induced effects could be blocked by specific receptor antagonists. There were no significant differences in the effects of angiotensins in the various strains of rats, except for the latencies of the neuronal responses to the iontophoretic ejection of angiotensins.