When an approximately 30 centiMorgan (cM) region of chromosome 13 containing the renin gene from the Dahl salt-resistant rat (R) was introgressed into the Dahl salt-sensitive rat (S), the resulting congenic rat (designated S.R-Ren) had a systolic blood pressure on a 2% (w/w) salt diet that was 24 mmHg lower than that of its S counterpart. Due to the large size of the transferred segment (over 30 million bp), the question remained as to whether or not the renin gene was the cause of the blood-pressure difference between the strains. We evaluated the role of the renin-angiotensin system in S.R-Ren and S rats fed a 0.05% salt diet by examining differences between strains in (1) expression of renin in three tissue types, (2) the blood-pressure response to blockade of both angiotensin-converting enzyme and angiotensin II receptors, and (3) pressure natriuresis. No differences were found in renin levels in plasma, kidney or adrenal gland between strains. The blood-pressure responses to the angiotensin-converting-enzyme inhibitor captopril and to the angiotensin II-receptor blocker saralasin in conscious S and S.R-Ren rats were similar. Furthermore, renal function, evaluated by a pressure-natriuresis index that took into account both the time and the arterial pressure needed to excrete an acute salt load, did not differ between strains. Our findings therefore fail to demonstrate a role for the renin gene in conferring lower blood pressure in the congenic rat and suggest that there is an unknown arterial-pressure-regulating locus in this 30 cM region of chromosome 13.