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The sex-related differences in aspirin pharmacokinetics in rabbits and man and its relationship to antiplatelet effects

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      Abstract

      There are a number of reports which suggest that the antithrombotic effect of aspirin is limited to males. It is unclear whether this effect is due to sex-related differences in the effect of aspirin on platelets, the vessel wall, or the pharmacokinetics of aspirin. To test these possibilities we examined the sex-related differences in (1) vessel wall PGI2 release and its inhibition by and recovery from aspirin in rabbits; (2) the effects of aspirin on platelet aggregation, thromboxane B2 and beta-thromboglobulin (BTG) release in man, and (3) the pharmacokinetic characteristics of aspirin, in both rabbits and man. Vascular wall PGI2 measured as 6-keto-PGF, was not different in male and females rabbits, and was inhibited to a similar extent by identical concentrations of aspirin. The duration of this inhibitory effect was also the same in males and females. The pattern of inhibition of collagen-induced platelet aggregation, and collagen-induced thromboxane B2 and BTG release by aspirin were not different in either sex. There was, however, a sex-related difference in a number of pharmacokinetic characteristics of aspirin both in rabbits and man. Thus, aspirin was absorbed more rapidly, distributed in larger apparent volume and was hydrolysed more rapidly in females. These observations suggest that the sex-related differences in the antithrombotic effects of aspirin seen in clinical studies are not due to differences in the effects of aspirin on the inhibition of platelet function mediated by the inhibition of cyclo-oxygenase in either the platelet or the vessel wall. An effect of aspirin on platelet function independent of the inhibition of cyclo-oxygenase has been described and it is possible that this effect may be influenced by sex-related differences in the pharmacokinetics of aspirin.

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