Effects of Ethanol Administration on Platelet Function in the Rat

John M. Littleton, Christopher G. Fenn, Nicholas D. Umney, Maria Yazdanbakhsh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


When ethanol is administered to rats chronically by inhalation for 5–7 days to produce a final ethanol concentration in plasma of about 50 TTIM platelet agggregation in vitro to collagen is markedly inhibited. Platelet aggregation to ADP is relatively unaffected and there is no evidence of thrombocytopenia or morphological change in platelets on scanning and transmission electron microscopy. The changed sensitivity to collagen is not simply due to the presence of ethanol in plasma during the in vitro tests because in vitro addition of a similar concentration of ethanol produces a much smaller inhibition of platelet aggregation to collagen in platelet‐rich plasma from control animals. The acute or subacute administration of ethanol either by injection (3 g/kg‐1 intraperitoneally) or by inhalation (4–6 h) produced very variable results, platelets from some animals being inhibited with respect to collagen as much as those from animals chronically exposed to ethanol, whereas others showed no inhibition other than that attributable to the presence of ethanol in plasma. When ethanol was administered chronically by inhalation for 30 days, thrombocytopenia was apparent and platelets from these animals were unresponsive to all aggregating agents tested. It is concluded that even relatively short periods of ethanol intake may lead to significant inhibition of platelet function, specifically aggregation to collagen. This may be of relevance to the suggested protective effect of ethanol intake in cardiovascular disease.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)512-519
Number of pages8
JournalAlcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - Sep 1982

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Toxicology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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