The pathogenesis of cisplatin-induced renal failure is related to reduced renal blood flow due to severe tubular damage and enhanced renovascular resistance. It is also known that alpha(1)-adrenoceptors, the major subtype of alpha-adrenoceptors in renal vasculature play the pivotal role in regulating renal hemodynamics. With this background, we have hypothesized that the altered renal hemodynamics and enhanced renovascular resistance in cisplatin-induced renal failure might be caused by the altered alpha-adrenergic responsiveness with a possible involvement of alpha(1)-adrenoceptors in the renal vasculature. In a unique experimental approach with anesthetized rats, this study has therefore examined if there is any shift in the renovascular responsiveness to renal nerve stimulation and a series of alpha-adrenergic agonists in Wistar Kyoto (WKY) and spontaneously hypertensive (SHR) rats with cisplatin-induced renal failure in comparison with their body weight-matched normal controls. Thirty-two male rats of both WKY (n=16) and SHR (n=16) origin with body weight 236+/-7.9 g received cisplatin (5mg/kg i.p.). The renal failure was confirmed in terms of significantly reduced renal blood flow, reduced creatinine clearance, increased fractional excretion of sodium, increased kidney index (all P<0.05) and tubular damage. After 7 days of cisplatin, the overnight fasted rats were anesthetized (sodium pentobarbitone, 60 mg/kg i.p.) and renal vasoconstrictor experiments were done. The changes in the vasoconstrictor responses were determined in terms of reductions in renal blood flow caused by electrical renal nerve stimulation or intrarenal administration of noradrenaline, phenylephrine and methoxamine. It was observed that in the cisplatin-treated renal failure WKY and SHR rats there were significant (all P<0.05) reductions in the renal blood flow along with significantly (P<0.05) higher renal adrenergic responsiveness as compared with their non-renal failure controls. The data showed that in the renal failure WKY and SHR rats, the altered renal hemodynamics might be caused by an augmented renal adrenergic responsiveness. The results obtained further led us to suggest that the augmented renal adrenergic responsiveness in the cisplatin-induced renal failure rats were possibly mediated by the alpha(1)-adrenoceptors.