Whereas angiotensin (Ang) II is the major effector peptide of the renin-angiotensin system, its metabolite, des-aspartyl1-Ang II (Ang III), may also have biologic activity. We investigated the effects of renal interstitial (RI) administration of candesartan (CAND), a specific Ang II type 1 receptor (AT1) blocker, with and without coinfusion of PD-123319 (PD), a specific Ang II type 2 receptor (AT2) blocker, on Na+ excretion (UNaV) in uninephrectomized rats. We also studied the effects of unilateral RI infusion of Ang II or Ang III on UNaV with and without systemic infusion of CAND with the noninfused kidney as control. In rats receiving normal Na+ intake, RI CAND increased UNaV from 0.07+/-0.08 to 0.82+/-0.17 micromol/min (P<0.01); this response was abolished by PD. During Na+ restriction, CAND increased UNaV from 0.06+/-0.02 to 0.1+/-0.02 micromol/min (P<0.05); this response also was blocked by PD. In rats with both kidneys intact, in the absence of CAND, unilateral RI infusion of Ang III did not significantly alter UNaV. However, with systemic CAND infusion, RI Ang III increased U(Na)V from 0.08+/-0.01 micromol/min to 0.18+/-0.04 micromol/min (P<0.01) at 3.5 nmol/kg per minute, and UNaV remained elevated throughout the infusion; this response was abolished by PD. However, RI infusion of Ang II did not significantly alter UNaV at any infusion rate (3.5 to 80 nmol/kg per minute) with or without systemic CAND infusion. These results suggest that intrarenal AT1 receptor blockade engenders natriuresis by activation of AT2 receptors. AT2 receptor activation via Ang III, but not via Ang II, mediates the natriuretic response in the presence of systemic AT1 receptor blockade.