Effect of aerobic interval training and caffeine on blood platelet function

Joshua P. Whittaker, Matthew D. Linden, Vernon G. Coffey*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: Hyperactive platelets contribute to the thrombotic response in humans, and exercise transiently increases platelet function. Caffeine is routinely used by athletes as an ergogenic aid, but the combined effect of exercise and caffeine on platelet function has not been investigated. Methods: Twelve healthy males were randomly assigned to one of four groups and undertook four experimental trials of a high-intensity aerobic interval training (AIT) bout or rest with ingestion of caffeine (3 mg·kg-1) or placebo. AIT was 8 × 5 min at approximately 75% peak power output (approximately 80% V̇O2peak) and 1-min recovery (approximately 40% peak power output, approximately 50% V̇O2peak) intervals. Blood/urine was collected before, 60, and 90 min after capsule ingestion and analyzed for platelet aggregation/activation. Results: AIT increased platelet reactivity to adenosine diphosphate (placebo 30.3%, caffeine 13.4%, P < 0.05) and collagen (placebo 10.8%, caffeine 5.1%, P < 0.05) compared with rest. Exercise placebo increased adenosine diphosphate-induced aggregation 90 min postingestion compared with baseline (40.5%, P < 0.05), but the increase when exercise was combined with caffeine was small (6.6%). During the resting caffeine protocol, collagen-induced aggregation was reduced (-4.3%, P < 0.05). AIT increased expression of platelet activation marker PAC-1 with exercise placebo (P < 0.05) but not when combined with caffeine. Conclusion: A single bout of AIT increases platelet function, but caffeine ingestion (3 mg·kg) does not exacerbate platelet function at rest or in response to AIT. Our results provide new information showing caffeine at a dose that can elicit ergogenic effects on performance has no detrimental effect on platelet function and may have the potential to attenuate increases in platelet activation and aggregation when undertaking strenuous exercise.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)342-350
Number of pages9
JournalMedicine and Science in Sports and Exercise
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2013
Externally publishedYes


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