Platelet adhesiveness was tested ex vivo in a group of six normal individuals receiving varying doses of alpha-tocopherol. Adhesion to glass slides coated with fibronectin, collagen, fibrinogen, or plasma proteins was studied by perfusing platelet-rich plasma through a flow chamber that allowed time- and space-resolved observations of platelet adhesion. Platelet adherence was measured in an area of parallel flow lines and low shear rate under standardized conditions before and after dietary supplementation with vitamin E at doses of 200 and 400 IU/d. Platelet adherence differed in magnitude depending on the adhesive surface. There was a distinct preference of platelets to adhere to sites that had been previously occupied. A remarkable decrease in platelet adherence was observed after vitamin E supplementation. The average decrease in adhesion after 2 weeks of 200 IU vitamin E was 75%. After 2 weeks of 400 IU vitamin E, platelet adhesion was reduced by 82%. The inhibitory activity of alpha-tocopherol was dose dependent and correlated well with the increase in alpha-tocopherol concentration in platelets after supplementation. Scanning electron microscopy revealed a striking decrease of pseudopodium formation in alpha-tocopherol- enriched platelets. Our results suggest that vitamin E may also be an effective antiadhesive agent in vivo.