Effect of mental stress on platelet function in normal subjects and in patients with coronary artery disease

Guido Grignani, Lucia Pacchiarini, Marisa Zucchella, Fiorenzo Tacconi, Attilia Canevari, Francesco Soffianlino, Luigi Tavazzi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We studied the effect of emotional stress (mental arithmetic for 10 min) in 10 postinfarction patients and in 10 age-matched apparently healthy subjects as controls. Blood samples for platelet function studies and for the determination of epinephrine levels in serum were taken in basal conditions, at the end of mental stress and after 30 min of recovery. Patients were studied twice, in washout of medications and after oral administration of dipyridamole, 200 mg twice a day for 6 con-secutive days. Mental stress induced in patients significant increments in different hemodynamic parameters (heart rate, systolic blood pressure and diastolic blood pressure) and in serum epinephrine levels. Concomitantly, the test produced a significant increase in platelet aggregation (induced by 3 µM ADP or 1 µg/ml collagen), the formation of circulating platelet aggregates and an increase in plasma thromboxane B2 levels. Hemodynamic parameters and platelet function tests returned to baseline values after 30 min. Similar activation of hemody-namic parameters, similar increase in epinephrine levels and lower increase in platelet function by emotional stress were observed in control subjects. Treatment of patients with dipyridamole had no effect on stress-induced increase in hemodynamic parameters and epinephrine levels, but decreased stress-related platelet activation. These data can contribute to a better understanding of the complex relationships between psychosocial factors, the hemostatic system and vascular disease.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)138-146
Number of pages9
JournalPathophysiology of Haemostasis and Thrombosis
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1992


  • Platelets

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology
  • Physiology (medical)


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