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Life Sci. 2003 Jan 31;72(11):1279-88.

Hormone replacement therapy increases renal kallikrein excretion in healthy postmenopausal women.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, UCSD Medical Center, University of California, 200 West Arbor Drive, CTF-A, 415, San Diego, La Jolla, CA 92103-0804, USA.


Hypertension and its related increase in cardiovascular morbidity in postmenopausal women is a major public health problem. The hypotensive property of urinary kallikrein has been described since 1909. Despite the controversy surrounding the effects of hormone replacement therapy on blood pressure regulation, its mechanisms remain incompletely understood, and no evidence has yet been provided for its effects on renal kallikrein excretion in postmenopausal women. In a double-blind, randomized study we examined the effects of hormone replacement therapy in the form of 2 mg 17-beta estradiol (ERT) or 2 mg 17-beta estradiol combined with continuous 5 mg medroxyprogesterone acetate (HRT) on urinary kallikrein excretion in postmenopausal women. Thirty-nine postmenopausal women collected their urine for 24 hours on two separate occasions 3 months apart. During the 3 month period women were randomized to placebo, ERT, or HRT. Urine samples were assayed for kallikrein activity, normalized to urine creatinine and expressed as mU/gm creatinine. Urinary kallikrein excretion increased significantly after 3 months in the ERT (p < 0.001) and HRT (p < 0.01) groups, and decreased non-significantly in the placebo group (p > 0.06). There were no significant blood pressure changes after 3 months of therapy. The findings demonstrate that hormone replacement therapy in the form of estrogen or estrogen combined with continuous medroxyprogesterone is effective in increasing urinary kallikrein excretion. Given that a decrease in kallikrein excretion may mark risk for development of hypertension, the findings of this study are of value in demonstrating a novel mechanism underlying cardioprotective properties of postmenopausal hormone replacement therapy in women without pre-existing coronary disease.

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