We have previously shown that the atrial natriuretic peptide (ANP) content of the anterior hypothalamic region of NaCl-sensitive spontaneously hypertensive rats (SHR-S) is higher than that of Wistar-Kyoto (WKY) rats. ANP has been shown to inhibit neuronal norepinephrine release and to reduce the excitability of hypothalamic neurons. This study tested the hypothesis that blockade of endogenous ANP in the anterior hypothalamus by local microinjection of a monoclonal antibody to ANP (MAb KY-ANP-II) lowers blood pressure in SHR-S. Purified MAb KY-ANP-II (0.055 and 0.55 μg) or control mouse IgG in 200 nl saline was microinjected into the anterior hypothalamic area (AHA) of conscious SHR-S and control WKY rats. As a further control, Mab KY-ANP-II (0.55 μg) was microinjected into the posterior hypothalamic area (PHA) of SHR-S. Anterior hypothalamic microinjection of MAb KY-ANP-II caused significant dose-related decreases in mean arterial pressure (MAP) and heart rate (HR) in SHR-S but not in WKY rats. Control injections of equal volumes of IgG had no effect on MAP or HR. Microinjection of Mab KY-ANP-II into PHA produced no significant alteration in MAP or HR in SHR-S. These data provide the first demonstration than endogenous ANP in a region of brain known to influence cardiovascular function mediates BP and HR control in the rat. These findings suggest that the increased endogenous ANP in the anterior hypothalamus of SHR-S may be involved in the central regulation of BP in this model.