Endogenous formation of thromboxane A2 and prostacyclin were evaluated in seven neonatates with persistent pulmonary hypertension by serial gas chromatographic mass spectrometric determination of their urinary metabolites dinor-thromboxane B2 and dinor-6-keto-prostaglandin F1 alpha, respectively. The patients were studied until their hypertension had resolved on clinical criteria. Urinary excretion of dinor-thromboxane B2 and dinor-6-keto-prostaglandin F1 alpha was increased when the persistent pulmonary hypertension was associated with group B streptococcal (n = 2) and pneumococcal (n = 1) sepsis. Based on urinary metabolite excretion, endogenous formation of thromboxane A2 and prostacyclin did not consistently differ from normal neonates in four patients with non-septic persistent pulmonary hypertension (hyaline membrane disease (n = 2), asphyxia, and meconium aspiration). These data suggest that thromboxane A2 is not a universal mediator of persistent pulmonary hypertension. It may, however, have a role in the pathophysiology of early onset group B streptococcal disease, and persistent pulmonary hypertension of other infectious aetiology. If these findings are confirmed by further studies, thromboxane synthetase inhibition or receptor antagonism may offer a potential therapeutic approach in neonates with persistent pulmonary hypertension associated with sepsis.
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