The hypothesis that simultaneous exposure to a high (8%) sodium chloride diet and behavioral stress (air jet noise) would act synergistically to increase blood pressure was investigated in male borderline hypertensive rats. Rats were fed either a 1% or an 8% sodium chloride diet beginning at 6 weeks of age. Rats in the Air Noise condition were restrained and exposed to random blasts of air jet noise for 2 h/d, 5 d/wk, from 7 to 17 weeks of age. Controls either were placed in identical restrainers and test chambers but not exposed to air jet noise (Restrained Control) or were left undisturbed (Maturation Control). Biweekly indirect blood pressure measurements showed that by 17 weeks of age, the high-sodium chloride diet and air jet noise exposure produced additive increases in blood pressure. Direct blood pressure measurements at 18 weeks of age confirmed the higher systolic pressures in borderline hypertensive rats exposed to both an 8% sodium chloride diet and air jet noise. After ganglionic blockade, the blood pressure of rats in the Air Noise group remained higher than that of Restrained and Maturation Controls, suggesting that the increased blood pressure of air jet noise-exposed rats was not maintained by increased autonomic activity. Blood pressure after maximal vasodilation by hydralazine was increased in rats exposed to both an 8% sodium chloride diet and air jet noise compared with other groups. Baroreceptor reflex sensitivity (tested by graded doses of angiotensin II) did not differ among groups. In summary, exposure to both an 8% sodium chloride diet and air jet noise increased blood pressure in borderline hypertensive rats; however, there was little evidence of synergy, ie, potentiation of the effects of air jet noise by exposure to a high-sodium chloride diet.