Platelet life-span in diabetics with and without retinopathy

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      Platelet life-span was measured by the recovery of malondialdehyde (MDA) production after aspirin ingestion in 40 normal subjects and 40 insulin dependent diabetic patients. All the patients had had diabetes for more than 10 years and severe retinopathy was present in 20. The mean platelet life-span in normal subjects was 9.98 ± 0.22 (SEM) days, in patients without retinopathy 7.38 ± 0.14 days and in patients with retinopathy 6.80 ± 0.18 days. The difference between normal subjects and both groups of diabetic patients was highly statistically significant (p < 0.001), but there was no significant difference between those patients with and without retinopathy. The amount of MDA produced by thrombin-stimulated platelets was significantly less in diabetics with retinopathy (p < 0.001) as compared to controls. Production of MDA was not influenced by oral glucose. These results show that long-term insulin-dependent diabetes is uniformly associated with a reduced platelet life-span, even in the absence of overt vascular complications.


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