Prostacyclin (PGI2) production was diminished when rat aortic rings were incubated with plasma from 5 of 6 patients with the sporadic form of haemolytic uraemic syndrome but was normal in the presence of plasma from 7 patients with the epidemic form of haemolytic uraemic syndrome or from patients with other renal diseases. The reduced PGI2 production was caused by an unstable inhibitor, extractable into polar lipid solvents, in sporadic haemolytic uraemic plasma. These results suggest that there may be at least 2 different pathogenetic mechanisms in epidemic and sporadic haemolytic uraemic syndrome and that the reduced PGI2 production observed in the sporadic type is due to an inhibitor of PGI2 production rather than a deficiency of stimulating factors.
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