Sodium intake occurs either as a spontaneous or induced behavior, which is enhanced, i.e. sensitized, by repeated episodes of water deprivation followed by subsequent partial rehydration (WD-PR). In the present work, we examined if repeated WD-PR alters hypothalamic transcripts related to the brain renin-angiotensin system (RAS) and apelin system in male normotensive Holtzman rats (HTZ). We also examined if the sodium intake of a strain with genetically inherited high expression of the brain RAS, the spontaneously hypertensive rat (SHR), responds differently than HTZ to repeated WD-PR. We found that repeated WD-PR, besides enhancing spontaneous and induced 0.3 M NaCl intake, increased the hypothalamic expression of angiotensinogen, aminopeptidase N, and apelin receptor transcripts (43%, 60%, and 159%, respectively) in HTZ at the end of the 3rd WD-PR. Repeated WD-PR did not change the daily spontaneous 0.3 M NaCl intake and barely changed the need-induced 0.3 M NaCl intake of SHR. The same treatment consistently enhanced spontaneous daily 0.3 M NaCl intake in the normotensive Wistar-Kyoto rats. The results show that repeated WD-PR produces alterations in hypothalamic transcripts in addition to sensitize sodium appetite in HTZ. They suggest an association between the components of hypothalamic RAS and apelin system with neural and behavioral plasticity produced by repeated episodes of WD-PR in a normotensive strain. The results also indicate that the inherited hyperactive brain RAS is not a guarantee for sensitization of sodium intake in the male adult SHR exposed to repeated WD-PR.