Our aim was to assess the change in platelet activity along the menstrual cycle. We conducted a prospective observational study. The study group included 16 healthy women with regular menstrual cycles, which were compared to a control group of 14 healthy males. Exclusion criteria were age <18 years or >45 years, use of oral contraceptives or any other forms of hormonal therapy and medical disorders or medications that might affect platelet aggregation. Blood samples were taken from each of the women at four different phases of the menstrual cycle: day 1 ± 1, day 7 ± 1, day 14 ± 1, and day 21 ± 1. A single blood sample was taken from the males. Platelet aggregation was assessed in whole blood samples using the Multiplate™ analyzer with three different agonists (ADP, arachidonic acid (AA), and thrombin-receptor activating peptide (TRAP)). Platelet aggregation for each of the women at each of the phases of the menstrual cycle was expressed as the percentage change from the day 1 ± 1 value. A total of 390 aggregation assays were performed. The mean aggregation activity was significantly higher in females compared with males, irrespective of the agonist used. For the TRAP and the ADP agonists, the relative platelet activity decreased along the menstrual cycle from day 1 towards day 21 and from day 7 towards day 21, respectively, although differences reached statistical significance only for day 21 (-12.4 ± 3.2, P < 0.05 for TRAP, and -9.5 ± 3.9, P < 0.05 for ADP). When using AA to induce platelet aggregation, the relative platelet activity was highest around the time of ovulation (11.0 ± 4.7) and was significantly lower on day 21 (-8.5 ± 6.7, P < 0.05). In conclusion, platelet aggregation activity is higher in females compared with males. The association between the phase of the menstrual cycle and platelet activity appears to vary with the type of agonist, but platelet aggregation is consistently lowest in the mid-luteal phase irrespective of the agonist used.
- Menstrual cycle