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September 28, 1994

Association of Moderate Alcohol Consumption and Plasma Concentration of Endogenous Tissue-Type Plasminogen Activator

Author Affiliations

From the Divisions of Preventive Medicine (Drs Ridker, Glynn, Hennekens) and Cardiology (Drs Ridker and Vaughan), and Channing Laboratory (Dr Stampfer), Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School; the Department of Ambulatory Care and Prevention (Dr Hennekens), Harvard Medical School; and the Department of Epidemiology (Dr Stampfer), Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, Mass.

JAMA. 1994;272(12):929-933. doi:10.1001/jama.1994.03520120039028

Objective.  —To assess whether an association exists between moderate alcohol consumption and plasma concentration of endogenous tissue-type plasminogen activator (t-PA), a serine protease that plays a central role in the regulation of intravascular fibrinolysis.

Design.  —Survey of self-reported alcohol consumption and plasma fibrinolytic capacity, controlled for lipid and nonlipid cardiac risk factors.

Setting.  —Participants in the Physicians' Health Study.

Participants.  —A total of 631 apparently healthy male physicians aged 40 to 84 years with no history of myocardial infarction, stroke, or transient cerebral ischemia.

Main Outcome Measure.  —Plasma concentration of t-PA antigen.

Results.  —A direct association was found between alcohol consumption and plasma level of t-PA antigen, such that mean plasma levels of t-PA antigen for daily, weekly, monthly, and rare or never drinkers were 10.9,9.7,9.1, and 8.1 ng/mL, respectively (P trend=.0002). The relation between alcohol consumption and t-PA antigen level was not materially changed in analyses that adjusted for total cholesterol and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol or nonlipid cardiovascular risk factors including age, body mass index, parental history of coronary heart disease, exercise frequency, and systolic and diastolic blood pressure.

Conclusions.  —These data indicate a positive association between moderate alcohol intake and plasma level of endogenous t-PA antigen that is independent of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol. This finding supports the hypothesis that changes in fibrinolytic potential may be an important mechanism whereby moderate alcohol consumption decreases risk of heart disease.(JAMA. 1994;272:929-933)