Random genome screening was initiated in the Sabra rat model of hypertension in search of genes that account for salt sensitivity or salt resistance in terms of the development of hypertension. Female salt-sensitive Sabra hypertension-prone (SBH/y) rats were crossed with male salt-resistant Sabra hypertension-resistant (SBN/y) rats, resulting in an F2 cohort consisting of 100 males and 132 females. Systolic blood pressure (BP) was measured in rats at 6 weeks of age under basal conditions and after 4 weeks of salt loading. Genotypes for 24 polymorphic microsatellite markers localized to chromosome 1 and for 8 markers localized to chromosome 17 were determined in F2 and cosegregation with BP was evaluated by ANOVA and multipoint linkage analysis. Basal BP did not cosegregate with any locus on chromosomes 1 or 17. In contrast, BP after salt loading showed significant cosegregation with three QTLs, two on chromosome 1 and one on chromosome 17, designated SS1a, SS1b, and SS17, respectively; the maximal logarithm of the odds (LOD) scores were 4.71, 4.91, and 3.43, respectively. Further analysis revealed sexual dimorphism. In male F2, BP response to salt loading cosegregated with one QTL (LOD score 4.52) and a second QTL (LOD score 2.98), both on chromosome 1 and coinciding with SS1a and SS1b, respectively. In female rats, BP response cosegregated with one QTL on chromosome 1 (LOD score 3.08) coinciding with SS1b, and with a second QTL on chromosome 17 (LOD score 3.66) coinciding with SS17. In males, the additive effects of the two QTLs on chromosome 1 accounted for most of the BP variance to salt loading, whereas in females the additive effects of the QTLs on chromosomes 1 and 17 accounted for over two thirds of the variance. These results identify three putative gene loci on chromosomes 1 and 17 that contribute importantly to salt sensitivity and/or resistance and uncover sex specificity in the role that salt susceptibility genes fulfill in the development of hypertension.