In rats with five-sixths nephrectomy (remnant kidney), blood pressure, glomerulosclerosis, and proteinuria are significantly reduced by administration of the angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor enalapril, during 16 weeks after reduction of the nephron number. The activity of catalase in remnant-kidney cortex homogenate is not influenced by enalapril treatment; the activities of superoxide dismutase and glutathione peroxidase are significantly increased. Elevated lipid peroxidation in cortex homogenates, evaluated by malondialdehyde and 4-hydroxynonenal concentrations, is not changed by treatment. Supplementation of dietary vitamin E to enalapril treatment does not alter antioxidant enzyme activities when compared to enalapril monotherapy. These results show that enalapril improves the balance between reactive oxygen intermediates and antioxidant enzymes in the remnant-kidney cortex of the rat. This finding may in part explain the protective effect of angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors on the progression of glomerulosclerosis.