Radiation of the kidney often leads to renal failure. The contribution of arterial hypertension to the development of this complication is unclear. The aim of this study was to determine the renal effects of antihypertensive therapy in 1- and 2-kidney rat models of radiation nephritis. Five groups of Long Evans rats had X-irradiation of the left kidney. In groups 1 and 2, the right kidney was left undisturbed (2-kidney model). The rats in group 3, 4 and 5 underwent right nephrectomy 21 days before radiation (1-kidney model). Groups 1 and 3 received no drug treatment and served as controls for each model. Groups 2 and 4 had enalapril 50 mg/l in drinking water and group 5 hydrochlorothiazide (HCT) 200 mg/l, also in drinking water. Blood pressure increased significantly in both control groups and remained normal throughout the study in all treated groups. At the end of the study, mean urinary protein excretion was lower in the two enalapril-treated groups but not in HCT-treated animals. Groups 1 and 2 (2-kidney models) showed similar increments in plasma creatinine (P<sub>creat</sub>), and, in both groups, the creatinine clearance (C<sub>Creat</sub>) dropped to the same extent. Among nephrectomized animals (1-kidney model), P<sub>creat</sub> was lower and C<sub>Creat</sub> higher in the enalapril-treated group. Consistent with these findings, glomerular sclerosis was less severe in both enalapril-treated groups. We conclude that, in radiation nephritis, lowering blood pressure with enalapril exerts a beneficial effect on renal function and structure, whereas a similar reduction in blood pressure induced by HCT does not.