Hypertension is a prevalent pathology that increases risk for numerous cardiovascular diseases. Because the etiology of hypertension varies across patients, specific and effective therapeutic approaches are needed. The role of renal sympathetic nerves is established in numerous forms of hypertension, but their contribution to salt sensitivity and interaction with factors such as endothelin-1 are poorly understood. Rats deficient of functional [ET.sub.B] receptors ([ET.sub.B]-def) on all tissues except sympathetic nerves are hypertensive and exhibit salt-sensitive increases in blood pressure. We hypothesized that renal sympathetic nerves contribute to hypertension and salt sensitivity in [ET.sub.B]-def rats. The hypothesis was tested through bilateral renal sympathetic nerve denervation and measuring blood pressure during normal salt (0.49% NaCl) and high-salt (4.0% NaCl) diets. Denervation reduced mean arterial pressure in [ET.sub.B]-def rats compared with sham-operated controls by 12 [+ or -] 3 (SE) mmHg; however, denervation did not affect the increase in blood pressure after 2 wk of high-salt diet (+ 19 [+ or -] 3 vs. +16 [+ or -] 3 mmHg relative to normal salt diet; denervated vs. sham, respectively). Denervation reduced cardiac sympathetic-to-parasympathetic tone [low frequency-high frequency (LF/HF)] during normal salt diet and vasomotor LF/HF tone during high-salt diet in ETu-def rats. We conclude that the renal sympathetic nerves contribute to the hypertension but not to salt sensitivity of [ET.sub.B]-def rats. sympathetic nerves; autonomics; circadian; endothelin B doi: 10.1152/ajpregu.00174.2017.