Article open access publication

Aerobic exercise training lowers platelet reactivity and improves platelet sensitivity to prostacyclin in pre‐ and postmenopausal women

Journal of Thrombosis and Haemostasis, Wiley, ISSN 1538-7933

Volume 15, 12, 2017

DOI:10.1111/jth.13866, Dimensions: pub.1092192447, PMID: 29027349,



  1. (1) University of Copenhagen, grid.5254.6, KU
  2. (2) Department of Clinical Biochemistry, Rigshospitalet, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark
  3. (3) Imperial College London, grid.7445.2



United Kingdom




Essentials It is unknown how regular exercise affects platelet function after menopause. We studied the effect of 3-months of high-intensity exercise in pre- and postmenopausal women. Platelet sensitivity to the inhibitory effect of arterially infused prostacyclin was increased. Reduced basal platelet reactivity was seen in the premenopausal women only. SUMMARY: Background The risk of atherothrombotic events increases after the menopause. Regular physical activity has been shown to reduce platelet reactivity in younger women, but it is unknown how regular exercise affects platelet function after the menopause. Objectives To examine the effects of regular aerobic exercise in late premenopausal and recent postmenopausal women by testing basal platelet reactivity and platelet sensitivity to prostacyclin and nitric oxide. Methods Twenty-five sedentary, but healthy, late premenopausal and 24 matched recently postmenopausal women, mean (95% confidence interval) 49.1 (48.2-49.9) and 53.7 (52.5-55.0) years old, participated in an intervention study: 3-month high-intensity supervised aerobic spinning-cycle training (1 h, × 3/week). Basal platelet reactivity was analyzed in platelet-rich plasma from venous blood as agonist-induced % aggregation. In a subgroup of 13 premenopausal and 14 postmenopausal women, platelet reactivity was tested ex vivo after femoral arterial infusion of prostacyclin, acetylcholine, a cyclooxygenase inhibitor, and after acute one-leg knee extensor exercise. Results Basal platelet reactivity (%aggregation) to TRAP-6 (1 μm) was higher in the postmenopausal, 59% (50-68), than the premenopausal women, 45% (35-55). Exercise training reduced basal platelet reactivity to collagen (1 μg mL-1 ) in the premenopausal women only: from 63% (55-71%) to 51% (41-62%). After the training intervention, platelet aggregation was more inhibited by the arterial prostacyclin infusion and the acute exercise in both premenopausal and postmenopausal women. Conclusions These results highlight previously unknown cardioprotective aspects of regular aerobic exercise in premenopausal and postmenopausal women, improving their regulation of platelet reactivity through an increased platelet sensitivity to prostacyclin, which may counterbalance the increased atherothrombotic risk associated with the menopause.


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