We compared the effects of the angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor enalapril and a conventional antihypertensive regimen (hydralazine and metoprolol) on kidney function, albuminuria, and glomerular ultrastructure in hypertensive diabetic and nondiabetic rats. Diabetes was induced with streptozocin at 8 wk of age in spontaneously hypertensive (SHR) rats. Antihypertensive drugs were administered in drinking water from the time of induction of diabetes in all groups. Blood pressure reduction was equal in the diabetic and nondiabetic SHR rats receiving either enalapril or hydralazine plus metoprolol. In diabetic SHR rats, there was a rise in serum creatinine after 32 wk, which did not occur in diabetic rats treated with either antihypertensive regimen or in nondiabetic rats. Both drug regimens reduced albuminuria in diabetic and nondiabetic SHR rats to a similar degree. Enalapril and the combination of hydralazine and metoprolol were associated with decreased glomerular basement membrane thickness and glomerular basement membrane thickness and glomerular volume in diabetic and nondiabetic SHR rats without significant effect on fractional mesangial volume. Thus, antihypertensive therapy retards the development of albuminuria, glomerular basement membrane thickening, and glomerular hypertrophy in the rat in the presence or absence of diabetes. No specific benefit of angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibition was observed in these hypertensive models of nephropathy. Human studies comparing the effects of different classes of antihypertensive drugs on kidney function, proteinuria, and glomerular morphology are warranted.