The effect of early aggressive antihypertensive treatment on kidney function in diabetic nephropathy was studied prospectively in ten insulin-dependent diabetics (mean age 29 years). During the mean pretreatment period of 29 (range 23-38) months the glomerular filtration rate (GFR) decreased significantly and the urinary albumin excretion rate and arterial blood pressure rose significantly. During the 39 month (range 28-48) period of antihypertensive treatment with metoprolol, hydralazine, and frusemide (furosemide) or thiazide, arterial blood pressure fell from 144/97 mm Hg (mean of all pretreatment values) to 128/84 mm Hg (mean of all post-treatment values), urinary albumin excretion from 977 micrograms/min to 433 micrograms/min, and GFR from 80 to 62 ml/min/1 . 73 m2. The rate of decline in GFR decreased from 0.91 ml/min/month before treatment to 0.39 ml/min/month (range 0.08 to 0.68 ml/min/month) during treatment.