PURPOSE: Hypertension accelerates the progression of chronic renal disease, whether it results from, or causes, the renal disease. Therefore, the control of hypertension is one of the important factors that retard the rate of renal deterioration. We compared the effects of different antihypertensive agents on renal function and glomerular morphology in subtotal nephrectomized rats. MATERIALS AND METHODS: After induction of chronic renal failure with 5/6 nephrectomy, the rats were divided into three groups; control group (Group C), enalapril group (Group E), and nicardipine group (Group N). Systolic blood pressure was measured by tail cuff method every 4 weeks until 12 weeks after nephrectomy. At 12 weeks after nephrectomy, all rats were placed in metabolic cages for 24 hour urine collections to measure urinary protein and creatinine excretion. After urine collection and blood sampling for serum creatinine, all rats were sacrificed. The renal tissue was processed for morphometric study with light microscope and electron microscope. RESULTS: 1. The blood pressure of Group C increased progressively, but both enalapril and nicardipine prevented the development of hypertension, and the two drugs were equally effective in maintaining normal blood pressure throughout the study. 2. Twenty-four hour urinary protein excretion was lower in Group E compared to Group C and Group N. 3. Mesangial expansion score in both treated groups were significantly lower than the control group. Mean glomerular volume in Group E was significantly reduced compared to Group C and Group N. There was no significant difference in mean glomerular volume between Group C and Group N. 4. There was no significant difference in podocyte structural changes, estimated by filtration slit length density, among control, enalapril and nicardipine treated groups. CONCLUSION: Control of hypertension with enalapril or nicardipine afforded considerable protection from mesangial expansion in the rat remnant kidney model. But protein excretion and glomerular growth were significantly reduced in Group E compared to Group N. There was no significant difference in podocyte structural changes among the 3 groups.