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Circulation. 1999 Sep 28;100(13):1374-9.

Evidence for prothrombotic effects of exercise and limited protection by aspirin.

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Department of Laboratory Medicine, Division of Clinical Pharmacology, Karolinska Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden.



Exercise may activate platelets and leukocytes and promote thrombosis. The effects of aspirin treatment on the prothrombotic effects of exercise have not been established.


A total of 15 healthy men performed exhaustive exercise without and with 1 week of pretreatment with aspirin (500 mg/day). Before and immediately after exercise, platelet aggregability ex vivo was measured by filtragometry, and venous blood samples were obtained. Whole-blood flow cytometry was used to determine platelet and leukocyte activation and platelet-leukocyte aggregates. Exercise increased platelet P-selectin expression, CD11b expression in neutrophils and lymphocytes, and platelet and leukocyte responses to thrombin, ADP, platelet activating factor, and N-formyl-methionyl-leucyl-phenylalanine (fMLP) in vitro. Consistent with enhanced platelet and leukocyte activation, more circulating platelet-platelet and platelet-leukocyte aggregates were detected after exercise (P<0.001 for both). Filtragometry readings were shortened, and plasma soluble P-selectin and prothrombin fragment 1+2 were elevated. Aspirin markedly reduced the urinary excretion of 11-dehydrothromboxane B(2), decreased P-selectin expression in single platelets at rest (P<0.05), and inhibited fMLP-induced neutrophil CD11b expression, but it did not attenuate exercise-induced increases in platelet aggregability, platelet P-selectin expression, leukocyte CD11b expression, platelet-leukocyte aggregate formation, soluble P-selectin, or prothrombin fragment 1+2.


Exercise induced platelet and leukocyte activation and platelet-leukocyte aggregation in vivo, and it increased platelet and leukocyte responsiveness to in vitro stimulation. Aspirin treatment attenuated certain signs of platelet activity in vivo at rest and fMLP-induced neutrophil activation in vitro, but it did not attenuate the prothrombotic effects of exercise.

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