1. The rates of secretion into the circulation of prostaglandin E, prostacyclin, and thromboxane A2 were estimated in male alcoholics on the third day of withdrawal and in control subjects by measuring appropriate metabolites in urine.
2. Urinary levels of tetranor-5,11-diketo-7α-hydroxyprostane-1,16-dioic acid (the major urinary metabolite of prostaglandins E1 and E2), of 2,3-dinor-6-ketoprostaglandin F1α (the major urinary metabolite of prostacyclin) and of 6-keto-prostaglandin F1α (the stable hydrolysis product of prostacyclin) were significantly different from the normal subjects in the alcoholic group. In contrast, 2,3-dinor-thromboxane B2 (the major urinary metabolite of thromboxane A2) and thromboxane B2 (the stable hydrolysis product of thromboxane A2) were not significantly different between the groups.
3. These data suggest that the ratio of the vasodilator prostanoids prostaglandin E and prostacyclin and the vasoconstrictor prostanoid thromboxane A2 is lower than in normal subjects, in alcoholics during withdrawal. This may be one causal factor for the higher incidence of hypertension observed in withdrawing alcoholics compared with control subjects.