Terrestrial animals must conserve water and NaCl to survive dry environments. The kidney reabsorbs 95% of the sodium filtered from the glomeruli before sodium reaches the distal connecting tubules. Excess sodium intake requires the renal kallikrein-kinin system for additional excretion. Renal kallikrein is secreted from the distal connecting tubule cells of the kidney, and its substrates, low molecular kininogen, from the principal cells of the cortical collecting ducts (CD). Formed kinins inhibit reabsorption of NaCl through bradykinin (BK)-B2
receptors, localized along the CD. Degradation pathway of BK by kinin-destroying enzymes in urine differs completely from that in plasma, so that ACE inhibitors are ineffective. Urinary BK is destroyed mainly by a carboxypeptidase-Y-like exopeptidase (CPY) and partly by a neutral endopeptidase (NEP). Inhibitors of CPY and NEP, ebelactone B and poststatin, respectively, were found. Renal kallikrein secretion is accelerated by potassium and ATP-sensitive potassium (KATP
) channel blockers, such as PNU-37883A. Ebelactone B prevents DOCA-salt hypertension in rats. Only high salt intake causes hypertension in animals deficient in BK-B2
receptors, tissue kallikrein, or kininogen. Hypertensive patients, and spontaneously hypertensive rats, excrete less kallikrein than normal subjects, irrespective of races, and become salt-sensitive. Ebelactone B, poststatin, and KATP
channel blockers could become novel antihypertensive drugs by increase in urinary kinin levels. Roles of kinin in cardiovascular diseases were discussed.