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Alcohol Clin Exp Res. 1994 Feb;18(1):105-10.

Alcohol and platelet function.

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Department of Pathology and Cell Biology, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.


Epidemiological studies have shown that moderate consumption of alcoholic beverages is inversely related to the incidence of the complications of coronary artery disease. The protective effect of ethanol may be partially attributable to an inhibitory effect of ethanol on platelets. This article summarizes the experimental observations that ethanol inhibits platelet responses to specific physiological agonists. In alcoholics, various platelet defects have been observed, but these may be influenced by metabolic factors rather than the presence of ethanol alone. The acute effects of ethanol on platelet functions both in vivo and ex vivo will be reviewed. Evidence will be presented demonstrating that ethanol added acutely in vitro inhibits phospholipase A2 in stimulated platelets. The interaction of ethanol with other signal transduction pathways will also be discussed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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