Abstract

Heparin neutralizes the inhibitory effect of prostacyclin (PGI2) on platelet aggregation. The PGI2-induced enhancement of platelet cyclic adenosine monophosphate levels is also inhibited. The mechanism appears to involve a direct interaction in which heparin neutralizes the inhibitory effects of PGI2 on platelet aggregation but, at the same time, does not lose its own anticoagulant activity. These findings may explain instances in which heparin infusions have been reported to produce hyperaggregation of platelets, thrombotic episodes, and thrombocytopenia in patients.