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To determine whether soluble E-selectin levels were raised in hypertension and whether such levels correlated with those of von Willebrand factor.Forty-five consecutive patients with uncontrolled hypertension (blood pressure >140/90 mmHg) and 33 consecutive patients with controlled hypertension (blood pressure <140/90 mmHg, i.e. normotension) were examined and compared with 40 normotensive age- and sex-matched controls.Levels of von Willebrand factor and soluble E-selectin were measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay in venous blood serum. Resting systolic (SBP) and diastolic (DBP) blood pressures were measured before venepuncture.Soluble E-selectin levels were raised in hypertension compared with controls and normotension. The levels of von Willebrand factor were raised in hypertension and normotension compared with controls. In multivariate analysis of all subjects, von Willebrand factor levels correlated with SBP (P< 0.001) and soluble E-selectin level correlated with DBP (P< 0.001), but levels of von Willebrand factor and soluble E-selectin did not correlate. There was no clear relationship between levels of either endothelial cell index or the class of drug therapy used or its dosage.We suggest that raised levels of soluble E-selectin in hypertension do not indicate endothelial cell injury but may be related to endothelial cell activation. The stimulus for release of soluble E-selectin might be different from that for von Willebrand factor.