The pathophysiology of anaphylaxis is very complex, and the sequelae of events are not fully explained in terms of the effects of histamine and peptide leukotrienes alone. Platelet-activating factor (1-O-alkyl-2-acetyl-sn-glyceryl-3-phosphorylcholine, PAF-acether) has been detected in animals undergoing anaphylaxis. Injection of synthetic PAF-acether induces similar effects, including bronchoconstriction, respiratory arrest, systemic hypotension, neutropenia, and thrombocytopenia. The results reported here demonstrate that the histamine- and leukotriene-independent component of guinea pig anaphylaxis in vivo and in isolated lung parenchymal strips in vitro is mediated by PAF-acether. However, PAF-acether is not responsible for the anaphylaxis-induced thrombocytopenia.

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