Systemic low-dose aspirin and clopidogrel independently attenuate reflex cutaneous vasodilation in middle-aged humans

J Appl Physiol (1985). 2010 Jun;108(6):1575-81. doi: 10.1152/japplphysiol.01362.2009. Epub 2010 Apr 1.


Chronic systemic platelet cyclooxygenase (COX) inhibition with low-dose aspirin [acetylsalicylic acid (ASA)] significantly attenuates reflex cutaneous vasodilation in middle-aged humans, whereas acute, localized, nonisoform-specific inhibition of vascular COX with intradermal administration of ketorolac does not alter skin blood flow during hyperthermia. Taken together, these data suggest that platelets may be involved in reflex cutaneous vasodilation, and this response is inhibited with systemic pharmacological platelet inhibition. We hypothesized that, similar to ASA, specific platelet ADP receptor inhibition with clopidogrel would attenuate reflex vasodilation in middle-aged skin. In a double-blind crossover design, 10 subjects (53+/-2 yr) were instrumented with four microdialysis fibers for localized drug administration and heated to increase body core temperature [oral temperature (Tor)] 1 degrees C during no systemic drug (ND), and after 7 days of systemic ASA (81 mg) and clopidogrel (75 mg) treatment. Skin blood flow (SkBF) was measured using laser-Doppler flowmetry over each site assigned as 1) control, 2) nitric oxide synthase inhibited (NOS-I; 10 mM NG-nitro-L-arginine methyl ester), 3) COX inhibited (COX-I; 10 mM ketorolac), and 4) NOS-I+COX-I. Data were normalized and presented as a percentage of maximal cutaneous vascular conductance (%CVCmax; 28 mM sodium nitroprusside+local heating to 43 degrees C). During ND conditions, SkBF with change (Delta) in Tor=1.0 degrees C was 56+/-3% CVCmax. Systemic low-dose ASA and clopidogrel both attenuated reflex vasodilation (ASA: 43+/-3; clopidogrel: 32+/-3% CVCmax; both P<0.001). In all trials, localized COX-I did not alter SkBF during significant hyperthermia (ND: 56+/-7; ASA: 43+/-5; clopidogrel: 35+/-5% CVCmax; all P>0.05). NOS-I attenuated vasodilation in ND and ASA (ND: 28+/-6; ASA: 25+/-4% CVCmax; both P<0.001), but not with clopidogrel (27+/-4% CVCmax; P>0.05). NOS-I+COX-I was not different compared with NOS-I alone in either systemic treatment condition. Both systemic ASA and clopidogrel reduced the time required to increase Tor 1 degrees C (ND: 58+/-3 vs. ASA: 45+/-2; clopidogrel: 39+/-2 min; both P<0.001). ASA-induced COX and specific platelet ADP receptor inhibition attenuate reflex vasodilation, suggesting platelet involvement in reflex vasodilation through the release of vasodilating factors.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Aspirin / administration & dosage*
  • Blood Flow Velocity / drug effects
  • Blood Flow Velocity / physiology
  • Clopidogrel
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Drug Combinations
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Reflex / drug effects
  • Reflex / physiology*
  • Skin / blood supply*
  • Skin / drug effects
  • Skin Physiological Phenomena / drug effects*
  • Ticlopidine / administration & dosage
  • Ticlopidine / analogs & derivatives*
  • Vasodilation / drug effects
  • Vasodilation / physiology*


  • Drug Combinations
  • Clopidogrel
  • Ticlopidine
  • Aspirin