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Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol. 2010 Feb;298(2):H497-504. doi: 10.1152/ajpheart.00336.2009. Epub 2009 Nov 20.

Estrogen attenuates chronic volume overload induced structural and functional remodeling in male rat hearts.

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  • 1Department of Physiology, Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center, New Orleans, Louisiana, USA.


We have previously reported gender differences in ventricular remodeling and development of heart failure using the aortocaval fistula model of chronic volume overload in rats. In contrast to males, female rats exhibited no adverse ventricular remodeling and less mortality in response to volume overload. This gender-specific cardioprotection was lost following ovariectomy and was partially restored using estrogen replacement. However, it is not known if estrogen treatment would be as effective in males. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the structural and functional effects of estrogen in male rats subjected to chronic volume overload. Four groups of male rats were studied at 3 days and 8 wk postsurgery as follows: fistula and sham-operated controls, with and without estrogen treatment. Biochemical and histological studies were performed at 3 days postsurgery, with chronic structural and functional effects studied at 8 wk. Measurement of systolic and diastolic pressure-volume relationships was obtained using a blood-perfused isolated heart preparation. Both fistula groups developed significant ventricular hypertrophy after 8 wk of volume overload. Untreated rats with fistula exhibited extensive ventricular dilatation, which was coupled with a loss of systolic function. Estrogen attenuated left ventricular dilatation and maintained function in treated rats. Estrogen treatment was also associated with a reduction in oxidative stress and circulating endothelin-1 levels, as well as prevention of matrix metalloproteinase-2 and -9 activation and breakdown of ventricular collagen in the early stage of remodeling. These data demonstrate that estrogen attenuates ventricular remodeling and disease progression in male rats subjected to chronic volume overload.

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