Considerable evidence has been accumulated for a renin-angiotensin system in the blood vessel wall with local generation of both angiotensin I and angiotensin II that plays an important role in blood pressure regulation. A major source for vascular renin is renal renin taken up by the arterial wall from the circulation. However, recent studies suggest that, in addition, local synthesis of components of the renin-angiotensin cascade also takes place in the vessel wall. The contribution that these locally derived components make to the functions of the vascular renin-angiotensin system remains to be elucidated. Studies, particularly in vitro, suggest that vascular pathways for angiotensin generation not involving renin or angiotensin-converting enzyme may also exist. As in the case of the locally derived components of the renin-angiotensin cascade, the role of these alternate pathways in the physiology of the vascular wall remain to be defined.