The biosynthesis of collagen and elastin was followed during the development of spontaneous hypertension in rats (SHR) of the Okamoto-Aoki strain. Strain-matched animals of the same age, which did not develop hypertension, served as controls. Both collagen and elastin synthesis (as revealed by specific hydroxyproline activity) was found to exceed control levels in the prehypertensive period, to decrease during the development of hypertension and to increase again in the period of the established hypertensive state. From the two main collagen types present, synthesis of collagen type III exceeded that of type I in the prehypertensive period (at the age of 4 weeks) and this relation was reversed during the period of established hypertension. It is suggested that (a) the vascular connective tissue metabolism in SHR differs from that in strain-matched controls, and (b) the reverse rate of collagen type IIIto collagen type I synthesis during hypertension development may be considered an adaptive response to the increasing pressure load which may alter the mechanical properties of the vessel wall.