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Anesthesiology. 1999 Nov;91(5):1361-9.

Propofol has both enhancing and suppressing effects on human platelet aggregation in vitro.

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  • 1Department of Anesthesia, Kyoto University Hospital, Japan. hirakata@kuhp.kyoto-u.ac.jp



Volatile anesthetics are known to suppress platelet aggregation. In contrast, there is conflicting information regarding the effect of propofol on platelet function. The present study was designed to clarify the effects of propofol on platelet function and the mechanisms underlying these effects.


Propofol or an equivalent volume of 10% Intralipos (as a control) was added to test tubes 5 min before the induction of each reaction. Platelet aggregation induced by epinephrine, arachidonic acid (AA), prostaglandin G2 (PGG2), or STA2 (a thromboxane A2 [TXA2] analog) was measured using an eight-channel aggregometer. To determine type 1 cyclooxygenase activity, AA (0.5 mM) was added to an assay mixture containing type 1 cyclooxygenase, and the concentration of the final product, malonaldehyde, was measured by spectrophotometry. Epinephrine-, adenosine diphosphate-, AA-, and PGG2-induced TXA2 formation was measured using a commercially available radioimmunoassay kit. To estimate TXA2 receptor-binding affinity, 3H-S145, a specific TXA2 receptor antagonist, was added, and the radioactivity of receptor-bound 3H-S145 was determined using a liquid scintillation analyzer. Inositol 1,4,5-triphosphate formation was measured in STA2-stimulated platelets using a commercially available inositol 1,4,5-triphosphate assay kit.


Propofol (40 microM) enhanced, whereas 100 microM suppressed, adenosine diphosphate- and epinephrine-induced secondary aggregation without affecting primary aggregation. Propofol (40 microM) also enhanced, but 100 microM suppressed, AA-induced aggregation. Propofol (100 microM) enhanced PGG2- and STA2-induced aggregation. Propofol (100 microM) suppressed AA-induced TXA2 formation but did not alter that induced by PGG2. Propofol (30-100 microM) suppressed AA-induced malonaldehyde formation, indicating inhibition of type 1 cyclooxygenase activity. Propofol did not alter TXA2 receptor-binding affinity. Propofol (30 and 100 microM) augmented inositol 1,4,5-triphosphate formation in STA2-stimulated platelets.


The present findings clearly indicate that high concentrations of propofol suppress the activity of type 1 cyclooxygenase, the enzyme that converts AA to PGG2. Furthermore, propofol also enhanced STA2-induced inositol 1,4,5-triphosphate formation. These results may explain the inconsistent findings of previous investigators.

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