Page last updated: Tuesday, March 28, 2006
Alcohol Use Decreases Platelet Activation and Aggregation in Men
The lower risk of myocardial infarction in moderate drinkers may be partially due to alcohol’s positive effects on platelet activity and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol. Large-scale studies examining these possibilities, however, have not included women and have not evaluated how alcohol consumption affects measures of platelet function.

Investigators examined alcohol use, platelet activation, and platelet aggregability in men and women without cardiovascular disease who were enrolled in a prospective study of cardiovascular disease risk factors. They measured platelet activation (i.e., response to adenosine diphosphate [ADP] ) in 1037 subjects and platelet aggregability (i.e., responses to ADP, epinephrine, and collagen) in 2013 subjects. Analyses were adjusted for potential confounders (e.g., age, body mass index, smoking).

As alcohol consumption increased from 0 drinks to >=20 drinks per week, platelet activation significantly decreased in men but not in women; most measures of platelet aggregation significantly decreased in men; only platelet aggregation induced by ADP significantly decreased in women.

These decreases may partially explain the possible protective effects of alcohol on cardiovascular events.  Beverage type was not consistently associated with platelet activation or aggregability.

Source: Mukamal KJ, Massaro JM, Ault KA, et al. Alcohol consumption and platelet activation and aggregation among women and men: the Framingham Offspring Study. Alcohol Clin Exp Res. 2005:29(10)1906–1912.

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