1. Basal and stimulated platelet intracellular free calcium concentrations were measured in non-pregnant women and in third trimester patients who were either normotensive or who had pregnancy-induced hypertension or pre-eclampsia. There were 15 subjects in each group.
2. A trend for a reduction of the maximal response of platelet calcium levels to stimulation by 5-hydroxytryptamine was seen in pregnant groups compared with nonpregnant subjects, but this was significant only in pre-eclampsia.
3. No significant differences in basal or adenosine 5′-pyrophosphate-stimulated levels of platelet intracellular free calcium concentration were observed between the four groups.
4. These results illustrate that basal platelet calcium levels are unchanged in hypertension of pregnancy. Alterations in basal platelet calcium levels may not be involved in the platelet activation that is a feature of pre-eclampsia.