Diabetic nephropathy is the most common cause of end-stage renal disease in the United States. We undertook a study to assess the impact of assignment to different levels of blood pressure control on the course of type 1 diabetic nephropathy in patients receiving angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitor therapy. We also examined the long-term course of this well-characterized cohort of patients receiving ACE inhibitor therapy. One hundred twenty-nine patients with type 1 diabetes and diabetic nephropathy who had previously participated in the Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme Inhibition in Diabetic Nephropathy Study who had a serum creatinine level less than 4.0 mg/dL were randomly assigned to a mean arterial blood pressure (MAP) goal of 92 mm Hg or less (group I) or 100 to 107 mm Hg (group II). Patients received varying doses of ramipril as the primary therapeutic antihypertensive agent. All patients were followed for a minimum of 2 years. Outcome measures included iothalamate clearance, 24-hour creatinine clearance, creatinine clearance estimated by the Cockcroft and Gault formula, and urinary protein excretion. The average difference in MAP between groups was 6 mm Hg over the 24-month follow-up. The median iothalamate clearance in group I was 62 mL/min/1.73 m(2) at baseline and 54 mL/min/1.73 m(2) at the end of the study compared with a baseline of 64 mL/min/1.73 m(2) and final 58 mL/min/1.73 m(2) in group II. There were no statistically significant differences in the rate of decline in renal function between groups. There was a significant difference in follow-up total urinary protein excretion between group I (535 mg/24 h) and group II (1,723 mg/24 h; P = 0.02). Thirty-two percent of 126 patients achieved a final total protein excretion less than 500 mg/24 h. Patients from groups I and II had equivalent rates of adverse events. In patients with type 1 diabetes mellitus and diabetic nephropathy, the MAP goal should be 92 mm Hg or less for optimal renoprotection, if defined as including decreased proteinuria. With the combination of ACE inhibition and intensive blood pressure control, many patients can achieve regression or apparent remission of clinical evidence of diabetic nephropathy.