The present study compared the post weaning blood pressures and body weights of borderline hypertensive rats exposed to a high (8%) sodium chloride maternal diet either from conception to weaning or only during the weaning period with borderline hypertensive rats consistently exposed to a normal (1%) sodium chloride maternal diet. Because the effects of early sodium chloride exposure may be most evident during a subsequent challenge, rats from each group were assigned to receive either an 8% sodium chloride or a 1% sodium chloride diet from 8 to 17 weeks of age. Exposure to an 8% sodium chloride diet from conception through weaning increased the adult blood pressure of borderline hypertensive rats compared with that of controls exposed to a 1% sodium chloride diet; exposure to an 8% sodium chloride diet only during weaning did not increase blood pressure. An 8% sodium chloride diet beginning at 8 weeks of age increased systolic blood pressure. The effects of perinatal and adult exposure to high dietary sodium chloride were additive. Behavioral observations and urinary electrolyte measures confirmed that pups exposed to an 8% sodium chloride diet during weaning ingested the high-sodium chloride diet. The blood pressure and heart rate responses to autonomic nervous system ganglionic blockade were assessed at 17 weeks of age. Borderline hypertensive rats exposed to an 8% sodium chloride diet from conception through weaning showed an increased bradycardic response, but no difference in depressor response, to ganglionic blockade. These data suggest that the window of developmental sensitivity for modulation of blood pressure regulation by high dietary sodium chloride occurs during prenatal and early postnatal development.