The effect on arterial pressure of incremental doses of norepinephrine (2 to 10 micrograms/min) and angiotensin II (50 to 800 ng/min) administered over 10 min periods was studied in sodium-replete hypertensive patients after crossover oral treatments with placebo, captopril 50 mg in a single dose, captopril 50 mg three times daily for one week and hydrochlorothiazide 50 mg daily for a week. Neither captopril nor hydrochlorothiazide affected the dose response to infusions of angiotensin II. In comparison to placebo responses, however, both single and multiple-dose captopril therapy, and hydrochlorothiazide attenuated the pressor responses to infusions of norepinephrine. Captopril significantly depressed angiotensin converting enzyme activity from pre-dose levels and angiotensin II infusions significantly elevated plasma aldosterone concentrations. These results confirm findings reported for single dose captopril in normotensive volunteers and indicate that attenuation of the vascular responsiveness to sympathetic stimulation may contribute to the antihypertensive effects of captopril and hydrochlorothiazide therapy.