CI-926 (10(-7)-10(-6) M) selectively antagonized the contraction of isolated rabbit aortae to phenylephrine and displaced the alpha-1 adrenoceptor ligand WB4101 (IC50: 82 nM) in rat brain. In the spontaneously hypertensive rat, single oral doses of either CI-926 (0.3-10 mg/kg) or prazosin (0.3-100 mg/kg) caused dose-related reductions in blood pressure; however, CI-926 was more efficacious. The maximal antihypertensive response to CI-926 was unchanged with three consecutive days of oral dosing in the spontaneously hypertensive rat, whereas a first dose effect was noted with prazosin. In two-kidney, one-clip, renal hypertensive rats, CI-926 and prazosin (1-10 mg/kg) lowered blood pressure; however, prazosin was more efficacious. In perinephritic hypertensive dogs, CI-926 (10 mg/kg) lowered blood pressure 20%. In anesthetized dogs, CI-926 in the presence of supermaximal blood pressure-lowering doses of prazosin caused an additional reduction in pressure. With equivalent alpha-1 blockade in anesthetized rats, CI-926 tended to have greater hypotensive activity than prazosin. These results demonstrate that CI-926 is a potent, orally active antihypertensive agent in renin-dependent and -independent hypertension. The profile of CI-926 suggests that it lowers blood pressure in part by interacting with peripheral alpha-1 adrenoceptors and in part via an additional mechanism(s). Although weak relative to its affinity for alpha-1 adrenoceptors, CI-926 was found in preliminary experiments to interact with alpha-2 adrenoceptors, serotonergic receptors and dopaminergic receptors. The importance of these interactions to the blood pressure response of CI-926 remains to be elucidated.