Experimental studies suggest that angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors with high tissue affinity confer a greater degree of vascular renin-angiotensin system suppression than those with low tissue affinity despite similar suppression of the circulating renin-angiotensin system. To test this hypothesis in a clinical setting, we randomized subjects with chronic heart failure to receive the low tissue affinity ACE inhibitor enalapril or the high tissue affinity ACE inhibitor trandolapril, and assessed the degree of circulating and vascular renin-angiotensin system suppression. Vascular renin-angiotensin system suppression was determined by measuring the pressor response to intravenous injections of angiotensin I. Circulating renin-angiotensin system suppression was determined by measuring plasma angiotensin II. Vascular and circulating renin-angiotensin system suppression, endothelial function (flow-mediated vasodilation), and maximal exercise capacity (peak oxygen uptake) were assessed after a 4-week run-in period on open-label enalapril 40 mg/day and after 8 weeks of randomized double-blind treatment with enalapril 40 mg/day or trandolapril 4 mg/day. Twenty-six men and 4 women (mean age 52 ± 11 years; mean left ventricular ejection fraction 25 ± 9%; New York Heart Association class II [n = 16] and III [n = 14]) were studied. After a 2-month randomized treatment period, vascular renin-angiotensin system suppression, circulating renin-angiotensin system suppression, endothelial function, and exercise capacity did not differ between subjects treated with enalapril and those treated with trandolapril. Despite substantial differences in the tissue affinity of enalapril and trandolapril, the degree of vascular renin-angiotensin system suppression achieved with these agents did not differ in subjects with chronic heart failure during long-term therapy.