A study was undertaken in pentobarbitone anaesthetized rabbits, undergoing a saline diuresis, to determine the subtype of alpha-adrenoceptor mediating renal tubular sodium reabsorption. Stimulation of the renal nerves at low rates, to cause an 11% fall in renal blood flow, did not change glomerular filtration rate but significantly reduced urine flow rate, and absolute and fractional sodium excretions by approximately 40%. These responses were reproducible in different groups of animals and with time. Renal nerve stimulation during an intra-renal arterial infusion of prazosin, to block alpha 1-adrenoceptors, had no effect on the renal haemodynamic response but completely abolished the reductions in urine flow rate, and absolute and fractional sodium excretion. During intra-renal arterial infusion of yohimbine, to block renal alpha 2-adrenoceptors, stimulation of the renal nerves to cause similar renal haemodynamic changes resulted in significantly larger reductions in urine flow rate, and absolute and fractional sodium excretion of about 52-58%. These results indicate that in the rabbit alpha 1-adrenoceptors are present on the renal tubules, which mediate the increase in sodium reabsorption caused by renal nerve stimulation. They further suggest the presence of presynaptic alpha 2-adrenoceptors on those nerves innervating the renal tubules.