1. Since plasma renin activity is increased in cyclosporin A (CsA)-induced hypertension in the rat, the role of the vascular renin-angiotensin system (RAS) in CsA-induced hypertension was investigated in rat mesenteric resistance vessels. 2. Female Wistar rats received CsA (10 mg/kg per day, s.c.) or vehicle for 30 days. CsA treatment increased tail-cuff systolic blood pressure (CsA treated 135 +/- 3 mmHg vs control 125 +/- 1 mmHg, P < 0.0001). 3. Mesenteric resistance arteries (200-300 microns) were isolated and mounted in a microvessel myograph. Concentration-response curves to tetradecapeptide renin substrate (10(-11)-10(-6) mol/L), angiotensin I (10(-11)-10(-6) mol/L) and angiotensin II (10(-12)-10(-6) mol/L) showed no differences between CsA-treated and control groups. 4. Mesenteric vascular angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) characteristics were determined by radioligand binding. There were no differences in the content or affinity of ACE between CsA-treated and control rats. 5. These results suggest that the mesenteric vascular RAS does not play a major role in CsA-induced hypertension in the rat.