Plasma angiotensin levels were measured for the first time in a cyclostome, the river lamprey. With the demonstration that angiotensins are present in the circulation, the possibility of a physiological role in the regulation of drinking was re-examined. Angiotensin II and III concentrations and plasma osmolalities were significantly higher in lampreys acclimated to 28 ppt seawater than in those acclimated to freshwater. No changes were found in angiotensin II and III levels 4 h after transfer from freshwater to 50% seawater, although plasma osmolality had started to rise by this time. There was a suggestion that plasma angiotensin II levels might be related to osmolality in the transfer experiment. Injection of Asp1Val5- or Asn1Val5-angiotensin II (40-169 μg/kg body wt.) did not stimulate drinking in freshwater-acclimated lampreys, even when they were still capable of drinking. The angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor captopril and the smooth muscle relaxant papaverine both reduced drinking rate in 50% seawater-acclimated lampreys. The data do not provide direct evidence for the involvement of the renin-angiotensin system in the control of drinking behaviour in the lamprey. Indirect evidence from the captopril effect is suggestive, but could have other explanations. © 2001 Elsevier Science Inc.
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