1. The pharmacological profile of valsartan, (S)-N-valeryl-N-([2'-(1H-tetrazol-5-yl)biphenyl-4-yl]-methyl)-vali ne, a potent, highly selective, and orally active antagonist at the angiotensin II (AII) AT1-receptor, was studied in vitro and in vivo. 2. Valsartan competed with [125I]-AII at its specific binding sites in rat aortic smooth muscle cell membranes (AT1-receptor subtype) with a Ki of 2.38 nM, but was about 30,000 times less active in human myometrial membranes (AT2-receptor subtype). 3. In rabbit aortic rings incubated for 5 min with valsartan, at concentrations of 2, 20 and 200 nM, the concentration-response curve of AII was displaced to the right and the maximum response was reduced by 33%, 36% and 40%, respectively. Prolongation of the incubation time with valsartan to 1 h or 3 h, further reduced the maximum response by 48% or 59% (after 20 nM) and by 59% or 60% (after 200 nM) respectively. After 3 h incubation an apparent pKb value of 9.26 was calculated. Contractions induced by noradrenaline, 5-hydroxytryptamine, or potassium chloride were not affected by valsartan. No agonistic effects were observed in the rabbit aorta at concentrations of valsartan up to 2 microM. 4. In bovine adrenal glomerulosa, valsartan inhibited AII-stimulated aldosterone release without affecting the maximum response (pA2 8.4). 5. In the pithed rat, oral administration of valsartan (10 mg kg-1) shifted the AII-induced pressor response curves to the right, without affecting responses induced by the electrical stimulation of the sympathetic outflow or by noradrenaline. Animals treated with valsartan 24 h before pithing also showed significant inhibition of the response to AII. 6. In conscious, two-kidney, one-clip renal hypertensive rats (2K1C), valsartan decreased blood pressure in a dose-dependent manner after single i.v. or oral administration. The respective ED30 values were 0.06 mg kg-1 (i.v.) and 1.4 mg kg-1 (p.o.). The antihypertensive effect lasted for at least 24 h after either route of administration. After repeated oral administration for 4 days (3 and 10 mg kg-1 daily), in 2K1C renal hypertensive rats, systolic blood pressure was consistently decreased, but heart rate was not significantly affected. 7. In conscious, normotensive, sodium-depleted marmosets, valsartan decreased mean arterial pressure, measured by telemetry, after oral doses of 1-30 mg kg-1. The hypotensive effect persisted up to 12 h after 3 and 10 mg kg-1 and up to 24 h after 30 mg kg-1. 8. In sodium-depleted marmosets, the hypotensive effect of valsartan lasted longer than that of losartan(DuP 753). In renal hypertensive rats, both agents had a similar duration (24 h), but a different onset of action (valsartan at 1 h, losartan between 2 h and 24 h).9. These results demonstrate that valsartan is a potent, specific, highly selective antagonist of AII at theAT1-receptor subtype and does not possess agonistic activity. Furthermore, it is an efficacious, orally active, blood pressure-lowering agent in conscious renal hypertensive rats and in conscious normotensive,sodium-depleted primates.