Aspartame (L-aspartyl-L-phenylalanine methyl ester, is a widely used artificIal sweetener. In humans and other animals aspartame is initially hydrolyzed to L-aspartyl-L-phenylalanine by intestinal esterases. L-Aspartyl-L-phenylalanine inhibits angiotensin converting enzyme purified from rabbit lungs with a Ki of 11 +/- 2 microM, equipotent to the IC50 of 12 microM for 2-D-methyl-succinyl-L-proline which has been reported to be an orally active antihypertensive agent in rats. Thus the possibility exists that L-aspartyl-L-phenylalanine inhibits angiotensin converting enzyme in humans consuming large quantities of aspartame. Both aspartame itself and the diketopiperazine formed from it, 3-carboxymethyl-6-benzyl-2,5-diketopiperazine, are weak inhibitors with Ki's greater than 1 mM.