Patients with hyperprostaglandin E syndrome/antenatal Bartter syndrome typically have renal salt wasting, hypercalciuria with nephrocalcinosis, and secondary hyperaldosteronism. Antenatally, these patients have fetal polyuria, leading to polyhydramnios and premature birth. Hyperprostaglandin E syndrome/antenatal Bartter syndrome is accompanied by a pathologically elevated synthesis of prostaglandin E(2), thought to be responsible for aggravation of clinical symptoms such as salt and water loss, vomiting, diarrhea, and failure to thrive. In this study administration of the cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) specific inhibitor nimesulide to patients with hyperprostaglandin E syndrome/antenatal Bartter syndrome blocked renal prostaglandin E(2) formation and relieved the key parameters hyperprostaglandinuria, secondary hyperaldosteronism, and hypercalciuria. Partial suppression of serum thromboxane B(2) synthesis resulting from platelet COX-1 activity and complete inhibition of urinary 6-keto-prostaglandin F(1alpha), reflecting endothelial COX-2 activity, indicate preferential inhibition of COX-2 by nimesulide. Amelioration of the clinical symptoms by use of nimesulide indicates that COX-2 may play an important pathogenetic role in hyperprostaglandin E syndrome/antenatal Bartter syndrome. Moreover, on the basis of our data we postulate that COX-2-derived prostaglandin E(2) is an important mediator for stimulation of the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system in the kidney.