Estrogen is known to improve in the short term the impaired endothelium- dependent vasodilating responses in postmenopausal women, which may account in part for the beneficial cardiovascular effects of the female hormone. Endothelium-dependent vasodilation is achieved by combined effects of endothelium-derived prostacyclin, nitric oxide (NO), and hyperpolarizing factor. In this study, we investigated our hypothesis that short-term estrogen improves both NO-mediated and non-NO-mediated endothelium-dependent vasodilation in postmenopausal women. The study included 12 postmenopausal women (aged 64 ± 3 years). The forearm blood flow was measured by strain- gauge plethysmography. The forearm vascular responses to the endothelium- dependent vasodilators, acetylcholine and substance P, were examined before and after intravenous administration of conjugated estrogen and subsequently after intraarterial infusion of N(G)monomethyl-L-arginine (L-NMMA), an inhibitor of NO synthesis. Short-term estrogen augmented the forearm vasodilating responses to both acetylcholine and substance P. The treatment with L-NMMA almost abolished the augmented response to acetylcholine but did not affect that to substance P. The forearm vascular response to sodium nitroprusside was unchanged by the estrogen administration. These results indicate that estrogen augments (in the short-term) both NO-mediated and non- NO-mediated endothelium-dependent forearm vasodilation in postmenopaussl women. Thus the beneficial effect of estrogen on endothelial vasodilator function appears to extend to non-NO-dependent mechanism(s).
- Endothelium-derived relaxing factors
- Nitric oxide
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine