Previous studies have identified a correlation between moderate alcohol consumption and plasma fibrinolytic activity. However, experimental studies designed to characterize the effect of alcohol on endothelial fibrinolytic parameters have provided inconsistent results. We investigated the effects of alcohol on the fibrinolytic components in a more simplified tissue culture system. The expression of tissue plasminogen activator (t-PA) and plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 (PAI-1) in cultured human endothelial cells exposed to ethanol was studied using Northern blot hybridization. Treatment of endothelial cells with ethanol causes a gradual increase of the level of endothelial t-PA (mRNA) with a concomitant rapid decrease in PAI-1 mRNA levels. These divergent responses at the transcriptional level are associated with an increase in the extracellular t-PA activity in the conditioned medium of cells exposed to ethanol.
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