BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: Protein tyrosine kinases appear to be involved in the signal transduction mechanisms, which result in vascular smooth muscle contraction, as well those required in cell growth. The present study was conducted to examine the role of tyrosine kinases in the norepinephrine-induced vascular smooth muscle contraction of isolated aortae from two-kidney, one clip (2K1C) hypertensive rats. MATERIALS AND METHODS: 2K1C hypertension was made by clipping the left renal artery of the rats, with age-matched rats receiving a sham treatment serving as controls. Thoracic aortae denuded of endothelium were mounted in tissue baths to measure the isometric tension. RESULTS: The putative tyrosine kinase inhibitors, genistein and tyrphostin 25, significantly inhibited the contractile responses of the aorta to norepinephrine in the control rats, but not in the 2K1C rats. The protein tyrosine phosphatase inhibitor, sodium orthovanadate, selectively potentiated the contractile response to norepinephrine, but only in the controls. Genistein, tyrphostin 25 and sodium orthovanadate did not affect KCl-induced vascular contractions in either the 2K1C or the controls. The vascular contraction elicited by phorbol 12, 13 dibutyrate, in the presence and absence of genistein, did not alter in either the 2K1C or the controls. CONCLUSION: These findings indicate that protein tyrosine kinases participate in the norepinephrine-induced contraction of rat aortic smooth muscle, where the role is attenuated in 2K1C renal hypertension.