Combined aspirin and cilostazol treatment is associated with reduced platelet aggregation and prevention of exercise-induced platelet activation

M Cleanthis, V Bhattacharya, J Smout, H Ashour, G Stansby
European Journal of Vascular and Endovascular Surgery 2009, 37 (5): 604-10

BACKGROUND: Cilostazol has proven efficacy in increasing walking distance in claudicants, but it has not been demonstrated to be more effective than placebo in secondary cardiovascular prevention. The direct effect of exercise on platelet function remains less well defined. We have investigated the effect of combination treatment with aspirin and cilostazol on platelet activity in claudicants subjected to repeated treadmill exercise.

METHODS: Nineteen claudicants completed a double-blind, randomised, controlled, cross-over trial. Each subject received a 2-week course of aspirin (75mg) and placebo and aspirin and cilostazol (100mg twice daily). Following each 2-week treatment period, patients participated in a standardised treadmill test (3.2kmh(-1), 10 degrees incline) walking to maximal claudication distance. The exercise was repeated thrice in total, and blood was sampled before and after exercise. Platelet activation was measured using free platelet counting aggregation, flow cytometry for surface markers of platelet activation and soluble P-selectin assay.

RESULTS: Compared to aspirin and placebo, combination treatment with aspirin and cilostazol was associated with reduced arachidonic-acid-induced platelet aggregation (p<0.01, Wilcoxon signed-rank test). Aspirin and placebo treatment were associated with elevated P-selectin expression, platelet-monocyte aggregation and reduced CD42b expression (p<0.05, Wilcoxon signed-rank test) post-exercise. No difference was seen in spontaneous platelet aggregation whilst soluble P-selectin was reduced post-exercise with combination treatment with aspirin and cilostazol (p<0.05, Wilcoxon signed-rank test).

CONCLUSIONS: Combination treatment with aspirin and cilostazol results in suppression of platelet activation and reduces the effect of exercise on platelets. The benefit seen may be a result of cilostazol enhancing the inhibitory effect of aspirin on the cyclo-oxygenase pathway.

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