In the rat and dog, exogenous adenosine inhibits renin release and adenosine receptor blockade augments stimulated renin release, suggesting that endogenous adenosine contributes to the regulation of renin release. The present study examines the role of endogenous adenosine in the regulation of renin in humans. The ability of the adenosine receptor blocker, caffeine, to augment renin release in response to the vasodilator, diazoxide, has been investigated in eight normal subjects in a double-blind, placebo-controlled, cross-over study. During each arm of the study, subjects on a 150 mEq of sodium, xanthine-free diet received caffeine (250 mg 3 times daily) or placebo for 3 days before and on the study day, when they were given an i.v. loading dose of diazoxide (4 mg/kg) followed by a 3-hr continuous infusion (0.67 mg/kg/hour). PRA, caffeine and diazoxide levels were measured before, during and after the diazoxide infusion. PRA measurements were repeated with subjects standing, 6 hr after starting diazoxide. Administration of diazoxide resulted in a modest tachycardia and a small, but significant, decrease in BP. Supine PRA was elevated during and after the diazoxide infusion and rose further with standing. Although there was no difference in plasma diazoxide levels, maximal pulse or BP response to diazoxide between the two arms of the study, the renin response was significantly greater in the presence of caffeine. These data confirm that caffeine augments the PRA response to diazoxide and suggest that endogenous adenosine inhibits stimulated renin response in humans.