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We postulated that nitric oxide (NO)-mediated endothelial function would be improved by acute and short-term treatment with an angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitor in patients with type I diabetes mellitus, in whom endothelial function is depressed. Nine type I diabetic patients and eight healthy subjects underwent forearm blood flow measurement using strain gauge plethysmography during intraarterial infusion of incremental doses of endothelium-dependent (acetylcholine [ACh]) and endothelium-independent (sodium nitroprusside [SNP]) vasodilators. Pretreatment ACh responses were depressed in diabetic patients relative to the normal subjects (P < 0.05). No difference between the groups was evident in response to SNP. Acute ACE inhibition (with intrabrachial enalaprilat) enhanced ACh responses in the diabetic patients (P < 0.005), with a further improvement evident after 1 mo of oral therapy with enalapril (P < 0.001) when ACh responses were normalized. ACE inhibition did not affect SNP responses. We conclude that acute administration of the ACE inhibitor, enalaprilat, enhances NO-mediated endothelial function in type I diabetic patients, with further improvement evident after 4 wk of enalapril therapy.