Premature fusion of calvarial sutures is the result of a long and complex reaction, and several growth factors including transforming growth factor R and basic fibroblast growth factor have important role in this event. Several prostaglandins have important functions in local bone modeling and remodeling by autocrine and paracrine mechanisms. Although effects of prostaglandins on long bones were studied both experimentally and clinically, there are limited data about cranial bones and sutures. In this study, we investigated the effect of iloprost-a stable prostacyclin analogue, which is widely used for the treatment of pulmonary arterial hypertension even in early pregnancy, to rat calvarial sutures. In 2 study groups, iloprost was injected intraperitoneally 10 and 15 mu g kg(-1) d(-1), respectively. In the third group, dexamethasone 2 mg kg(-1) d(-1) + iloprost 15 mu g kg(-1) d-1 was injected intraperitoneally to antagonize the effects of iloprost. In every group, 4 rats were killed at the postoperative 15, 30, and 45 days, and specimens including the sagittal and frontal sutures were excised immediately. Routine histological and immunohistological staining were performed on the specimens. Morphological measurements were performed on the skulls, also. In histological evaluation, bone formation in the both frontal and sagittal suture area was increased and accelerated in iloprost groups. Dexamethasone inhibited the effects of iloprost on the third group. Expressions of transforming growth factor 0 and basic fibroblast growth factor were also increased in immunohistological staining. In morphological measurements, statistically significant differences were found between control and study groups. Iloprost did not fused the rat calvarial sutures prematurely, but it narrowed the sagittal and frontal sutures especially after the second week of the study. This situation might effect the sutures of the babies of the pregnant patients with pulmonary arterial hypertension treated with iloprost. Cranial sutures, calvarial bones, and cranial shape of the babies of the pregnant patients who were treated with iloprost should be monitored to clarify the topic.