We have previously demonstrated blunted reflex responses of lumbar sympathetic nerve activity during volume expansion in NaCl-sensitive spontaneously hypertensive rats maintained on basal (1% NaCl) diets compared with NaCl-resistant spontaneously hypertensive rats, Wistar-Kyoto rats, and Sprague-Dawley rats. The current study tested the hypothesis that chronic ingestion of a high (8%) NaCI diet further blunts cardiopulmonary reflex function in the NaCl-sensitive spontaneously hypertensive rat. After 3 weeks of a 1% or 8% Nacl diet, male rats of all four strains were instrumented with femoral arterial and venous cannulas and lumbar nerve recording electrodes at 10 weeks of age. Two days later, conscious rats were infused with whole blood to expand blood volume. NaCl-sensitive spontaneously hypertensive rats maintained on a 1% NaCl diet had blunted responses of nerve activity to acute volume expansion compared with control strains. NaCl-sensitive spontaneously hypertensive rats maintained on an 8% NaCI diet had increases in nerve activity responses to volume expansion. In a second experiment, the volume expansion protocol was repeated in anesthetized NaCl-sensitive spontaneously hypertensive rats that had been subjected to sinoaortic denervation after 3 weeks of a 1% or 8% NaCl diet. After sinoaortic denervation, an increase in nerve activity was again observed during volume expansion in animals fed the 8% NaCl diet. In animals fed the 1% NaCl diet, changes in nerve activity were variable. The excitatory response was significantly reduced after bilateral vagotomy. These studies suggest that blood pressure regulation in NaCl-sensitive spontaneously hypertensive rats is a complex interaction of excitatory and inhibitory sympathetic reflex systems that is altered by high dietary NaCl exposure.