Angiotensin II (ANG II) has been implicated in the hypertrophic and fibrotic responses of the heart and kidney to systemic hypertension. To determine whether these actions of ANG II are related to tissue-specific stimulation of growth factors, we infused adult Sprague-Dawley rats with ANG II at 50 ng/min (low dose), 100 ng/min (high dose), or vehicle for 1 week. Rats receiving vehicle or low-dose ANG II were normotensive with normal plasma aldosterone concentration, whereas rats receiving high-dose ANG II were hypertensive with increased plasma aldosterone. Tissue fibrosis was quantified morphometrically, and messenger RNA (mRNA) for transforming growth factor-beta1 (TGF-beta1) and prepro-epidermal growth factor (EGF) was measured in liver, heart, and renal glomeruli and tubules. In addition, mRNA was determined for clusterin, a glycoprotein expressed in response to tissue injury. Compared to vehicle, low-dose ANG II increased TGF-beta1 expression in glomeruli, tubules, and heart, but not in liver, and increased EGF expression in renal tubules only. High-dose ANG II decreased clusterin expression in liver only. Fibrosis was induced by low- and high-dose ANG II in kidney and heart, but not in liver. We conclude that ANG II selectively stimulates TGF-beta1 mRNA in the heart and kidney, which may contribute to cardiac and renal interstitial fibrosis resulting from activation of the renin-angiotensin system independent of hypertension. By stimulating cellular proliferation, selective stimulation by ANG II of EGF in renal tubules may amplify the effects of TGF-beta1. Suppression of clusterin expression in the liver of hypertensive rats may represent a specific response to high levels of circulating ANG II or a response to hypertensive injury.