Rats were exposed continuously to Pb in utero and after birth by giving their mothers, during pregnancy and lactation, drinking water containing 0, 5, 25, 100, or 500 ppm Pb (as Pb acetate); they were sacrificed at 1 month of age, at which time their mean blood Pb concentrations were, respectively, approximately 3, 9, 19, 30, and 70 micrograms/dl. All Pb-exposed groups sacrificed by decapitation had elevated mean plasma renin activities (PRA), relative to controls. Pentobarbarbital-anesthesia and laparotomy markedly increased PRA in the 0, 100, and 500 ppm groups, but the increase was significantly less in the 100 ppm group. Renal renin concentration was normal in the 5 and 25 ppm groups, but was significantly increased in the 100 and 500 ppm groups. The ratio of plasma angiotensin II to PRA was normal in the 100 ppm group but significantly reduced in the 500 ppm group. We conclude that exposure of rats in utero and during lactation to doses of Pb which produce blood Pb concentrations similar to those generally present in human populations stimulates basal renin secretion in 1-month-old rats, but partially inhibits the response to renin-releasing stimuli. The highest dose reduces plasma angiotensin II at any given PRA. These results, taken with previous publications, emphasize that the effects of lead on plasma renin even within a single species are greatly affected by the timing of the exposure.