1. Urinary excretion rate of 6-keto-prostaglandin F (6-keto-PGF), a stable non-enzymatic transformation product of prostacyclin (PGI2), was measured in 13 patients with sustained essential hypertension and in nine normotensive control subjects by a specific radioimmunoassay.

2. Patients with essential hypertension had significantly lower 6-keto-PGF excretion rates irrespective of their sex, but in both groups urinary 6-keto-PGF was lower in females.

3. Sodium excretion was significantly correlated with urinary 6-keto-PGF only in hypertensive subjects. There was also a positive correlation between 6-keto-PGF and urine volume in control subjects and in hypertensive patients.

4. If diminished urinary 6-keto-PGF reflects suppressed endogenous PGI2 production, a deficiency in this important vasodepressor substance in essential hypertension may contribute to the pathogenesis of this disease.

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