Heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1) induction can attenuate the development of angiotensin II (ANG II)-dependent hypertension. However, the mechanism by which HO-1 lowers blood pressure in this model is not clear. The goal of this study was to test the hypothesis that induction of HO-1 in the kidney can attenuate the increase in reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation in the kidney that occurs during ANG II-dependent hypertension. Mice were divided into four groups, control (Con), cobalt protoporphyrin (CoPP), ANG II, and ANG II + CoPP. CoPP treatment (50 mg/kg) was administered in a single subcutaneous injection 2 days prior to implantation of an osmotic minipump that infused ANG II at a rate of 1 microg x kg(-1) x min(-1). At the end of this period, mean arterial blood pressure (MAP) averaged 93 +/- 5, 90 +/- 5, 146 +/- 8, and 105 +/- 6 mmHg in Con, CoPP-, ANG II-, and ANG II + CoPP-treated mice. To determine whether HO-1 induction resulted in a decrease in ANG II-stimulated ROS generation in the renal medulla, superoxide production was measured. Medullary superoxide production was increased by ANG II infusion and normalized in mice pretreated with CoPP. The reduction in ANG II-mediated superoxide production in the medulla with CoPP was associated with a decrease in extracellular superoxide dismutase protein but an increase in catalase protein and activity. These results suggest that reduction in superoxide and possibly hydrogen peroxide production in the renal medulla may be a potential mechanism by which induction of HO-1 with CoPP lowers blood pressure in ANG-II dependent hypertension.