Des-aspartate angiotensin I (DAA-I), an endogenous nonapeptide, counteracts several effects of angiotensin II on vascular tone. The aim of this study was to investigate the acute protective effect of DAA-I on endothelial function in the spontaneously hypertensive rat (SHR) as well as its effect on angiotensin II-induced contractions and oxidative stress. Aortic rings were incubated with DAA-I (0.1μM) for 30min prior to the assessment of angiotensin II-induced contractions (0.1nM-10μM) in WKY and SHR aortas. Total nitrate and nitrite levels were assessed using a colorimetric method and reactive oxygen species (ROS) were measured by dihydroethidium (DHE) fluorescence and lucigenin-enhanced chemiluminescence. The effect of DAA-I was also assessed against endothelium-dependent and -independent relaxations to acetylcholine and sodium nitroprusside, respectively. Angiotensin II-induced contractions were significantly reduced by DAA-I, losartan and tempol. Incubation with ODQ (soluble guanylyl cyclase inhibitor) and removal of the endothelium prevented the reduction of angiotensin II-induced contractions by DAA-I. Total nitrate and nitrite levels were increased in DAA-I, losartan and tempol treated-SHR tissues while ROS level was reduced by DAA-I and the latter inhibitors. In addition, DAA-I significantly improved the impaired acetylcholine-induced relaxation in SHR aortas whilst sodium nitroprusside-induced endothelium-independent relaxation remained unaffected. The present findings indicate that improvement of endothelial function by DAA-I in the SHR aorta is mediated through endothelium-dependent release of nitric oxide and inhibition of angiotensin II-induced oxidative stress.