A preliminary study on the effects of exercising to maximum walking distance on platelet and endothelial function in patients with intermittent claudication

P. Collins, Isobel Ford, D. R. Ball, Ewan MacAulay, Michael Greaves, Julie Brittenden

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Background. Platelet and endothelial activation has been shown to be increased in patients with intermittent claudication (IC). Recent studies have suggested that exercise may induce further platelet activation. The anus of this study were to investigate the effect of exercising to maximum walking distance on platelet and endothelial function in patients with intermittent claudication who were receiving statin and aspirin therapy compared with age matched healthy controls.

Methods. Platelet aggregation through COX-mediated and thrombin receptor activator peptide (TRAP)-stimulated GPIIb/IIIa pathways was measured by the Ultegra point of care system in 20 patients with IC on aspirin and 20 healthy volunteers before, immediately and 1 h after exercising to treadmill maximal walking distance (MWD). Soluble P-selectin, nu WF and sICAM were measured using an enzyme linked immuno-sorbent assay technique.

Results. Baseline platelet aggregation was significantly reduced in patients with IC compared to volunteers (p < 0.05). In patients, exercising to MWD significantly reduced platelet aggregation (COX, median -5% [range -24 to 13%]; p= 0.02; GPIIIa/IIb, median -13% [range - 72 to 33%]; p = 0.02) immediately post-exercise which returned to baseline values at 1 h. There was no change in the healthy volunteers following the same median duration of exercise. Baseline sP-selectin levels were higher in the patients with IC compared to the healthy volunteers [Median values (interquartile range), 42.72 (33.28-54.24) versus 29.16 (24.40-34.10), p=0.0003] but there were no differences in nu WF levels. Both sP-selectin and nu WF levels increased significantly in the control and patient group following exercise (p < 0.005). sICAM were higher at baseline in the patients with IC but were unchanged following exercise [Median values (interquartile range),560.9 (405.5-739.4) versus 467.0 (325.7-643.4), p < 0.05].

Conclusion. This study is the first to show that platelet aggregation is reduced immediately following treadmill exercise to maximum walking distance in patients with IC despite a rise in sP-selectin and vWF, suggesting endothelial activation. The inhibition of platelet aggregation after exercise in subjects on antiplatelet and statin therapy suggests that exercise is unlikely to exacerbate platelet thrombus formation in patients with IC.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)266-273
Number of pages7
JournalEuropean Journal of Vascular and Endovascular Surgery
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2006


  • platelet aggregation
  • soluble P-selectin
  • sICAM
  • von Willebrand factor
  • exercise
  • intermittent claudication
  • peripheral arterial-disease
  • intercellular-adhesion molecule-1
  • Von-Willebrand-Factor
  • P-selectin
  • activated platelets
  • treadmill exercise
  • vascular-disease
  • nitric-oxide
  • aggregation
  • coagulation

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