The effects of rapid atrial pacing on central hemodynamics, plasma hormones, and renal function were investigated in eight control and nine cardiac-denervated dogs under chloralose anesthesia. Pacing at approximately 250 ppm for 60 min caused similar increases in pulmonary wedge and right atrial pressures, systemic vascular resistance, and plasma atrial natriuretic peptide (ANP) in both groups. In control dogs, pacing produced a fall in both plasma vasopressin (AVP) and plasma renin activity (PRA) and a rise in urine flow rate associated with an increase in free water but not sodium clearance. In contrast, in cardiac-denervated dogs, both plasma AVP and PRA increased during pacing; urine flow rate did not change, and marked sodium retention occurred. This study supports the concept that the increase in urine flow during rapid atrial pacing is mediated by inhibition of renin and AVP secretion through intact cardiac nerves. The secretion of ANP is unaffected by cardiac denervation. The natriuretic and vasodilator actions of high plasma ANP concentrations during rapid atrial pacing can be inhibited either by neurally mediated cardiorenal effects in normal animals or by stimulation of the renin-angiotensin system after cardiac denervation.