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Age moderates the short-term effects of transdermal 17beta-estradiol on endothelium-dependent vascular function in postmenopausal women.

Author(s): Sherwood A, Bower JK, McFetridge-Durdle J, Blumenthal JA, Newby LK, Hinderliter AL

Affiliation(s): Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC 27710, USA. sherw002@mc.duke.edu

Publication date & source: 2007-08, Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol., 27(8):1782-7. Epub 2007 May 31.

Publication type: Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

OBJECTIVE: We evaluated age and coronary heart disease (CHD) as potential moderators of the effects of 17beta-estradiol on vascular endothelial function in postmenopausal women. METHODS AND RESULTS: In a double-blind crossover design, 100 postmenopausal women aged 50 to 80 years were randomized to each of 3 transdermal patches, releasing 17beta-estradiol (0.05 mg/d), 17beta-estradiol (0.05 mg/d) + norethindrone acetate (NETA, 0.14 mg/d), and placebo. Flow-mediated dilation (FMD) and response to 400 microg sublingual glyceryl trinitrate (GTN-D) were assessed approximately 18 hours after patch placement. Age, but not CHD, moderated the FMD response to treatment (P=0.01). For women in their fifties, the estradiol patch was associated with improved FMD (7.69+/-4.79%) compared with placebo (4.81+/-5.97%, P<0.05), but the estradiol+norethindrone patch response (5.81+/-4.85%) was not significantly different from placebo. Women in their sixties and seventies showed no alterations in FMD response to either active patch. GTN-D response declined with advancing age (P<0.01), with women in their seventies exhibiting blunted GTN-D response compared with younger women. CONCLUSIONS: The cardiovascular benefits of natural estrogen supplementation on vascular endothelial function may be dependent on postmenopausal age, with improved vascular function evident only in the early postmenopausal years. Short-term FMD response to estradiol might help stratify individual differences in risks versus benefits of HRT.

Page last updated: 2007-08-04

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