The relationship between renal arterial pressure and renin release was examined in anesthetized dogs during complete or partial ureteral constriction. During complete ureteral occlusion ureteral pressure rose to 95+/-4 mm Hg and renin release increased from 1.7+/-0.7 to 22.3+/-3.1 mug/min; renal blood flow (RBF) was not significantly changed. Renin release was not further increased during subsequent renal arterial constriction; RBF fell in proportion to perfusion pressure, indicating maximum autoregulated arteriolar dilation. During partial ureteral constriction to a ureteral pressure of 65+/-6 mm Hg, renin release was moderately raised but release mechanisms became fully stimulated when renal arterial pressure was reduced to 104+/-3 mm Hg. By further constricted of the renal artery, RBF fell in proportion to perfusion pressure and renin release remained high and constant. In control experiments without ureteral constriction, renal arterial pressure had to be reduced to below 65+/-8 mm Hg to fully stimulate renin release (22.0+/-3.8 mug/ml which is not different from 22.3+/-3.1 mug/min during ureteral occlusion). During partial ureteral constriction, saline infusion (0.9% NaCl at 40 ml/min) raised urine flow, sodium excretion, renal pelvic pressure, and renin release. Thus, the stimulatory effect on renin release of a rise in ureteral pressure exceeded the inhibitory effect of increased sodium excretion. This observation, together with maximum renin release coinciding with complete arteriolar dilation during various combinations of renal arterial and ureteral constriction, is compatible with the conclusion that arteriolar dilation is predominating stimulus to renin release during ureteral constriction.