The objective of this study was to determine the contribution of renal nerves to the enhanced afferent arteriolar reactivity observed in angiotensin II (Ang II)-induced hypertension. Uninephrectomized Sprague-Dawley rats were divided into four groups: sham rats, renal-denervated rats, Ang II-infused (at 40 ng/min for 13 days) rats, and Ang II-infused+renal-denervated rats. With the use of an implanted arterial catheter, mean arterial pressure (MAP) was monitored in conscious rats. Ang II infusion resulted in a progressive increase in MAP from 98±1 (day 0) to 166±7 mm Hg (day 13). This increase in MAP was attenuated in denervated rats and averaged 136±3 mm Hg on day 13. Kidneys were harvested on day 13 for microcirculatory experiments or measurement of intrarenal Ang II levels. Basal afferent arteriolar diameter was similar in all groups, and group averages ranged from 19.6 to 20.7 μm. Chronic Ang II infusion increased intrarenal Ang II levels. Renal denervation did not alter this effect. Increasing perfusion pressure from 100 to 160 mm Hg reduced afferent arteriolar diameter significantly by 11.2±0.6% in the sham group and by a similar degree in the remaining three groups. Superfusion with Ang II (10 nmol/L) reduced afferent arteriolar diameter by 34.3±2.0% in the sham group. This response was enhanced in Ang II-infused (62.3±3.4%) but not in renal-denervated or Ang II-infused+renal-denervated rats. Additionally, the enhanced afferent arteriolar reactivity to Ang II was not influenced by adrenergic receptor blockade. The afferent arteriolar response to norepinephrine was enhanced in renal-denervated, Ang II-infused, and Ang II-infused+renal-denervated rats compared with sham controls. Administration of the calcium ionophore A23187 decreased afferent arteriolar diameter similarly in all four groups. These results indicate that renal nerves contribute to the development of hypertension and to the enhanced afferent arteriolar responsiveness to Ang II elicited by chronic Ang II infusion.