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Hypertension. 1996 Apr;27(4):962-7.

Menstrual cycle effects on catecholamine and cardiovascular responses to acute stress in black but not white normotensive women.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, University of California, San Diego, USA.


This study examined cardiovascular and catecholamine responses to two standardized laboratory stressors in 33 healthy age- and weight-matched black and white normotensive women (mean age, 32 years) during two phases of the menstrual cycle. Subjects were studied in a randomized order at the same time of day on two separate occasions approximately six weeks apart, once during the follicular phase (days 7 to 10 after menses) and once during the luteal phase (days 7 to 10 after the leutenizing hormone surge) of the menstrual cycle. Black women has higher systolic (P=.01) and diastolic (P=.01) pressures compared with white women. Black women showed greater diastolic pressure (P <.01) and plasma epinephrine (P <.05) responses to stress during the follicular compared with the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle; white women showed no significant changes in these variables. The findings extend the literature on race differences in responsivity to stress and indicate that in contrast to white women, reproductive hormones do influence cardiovascular and catecholamine responsivity to stress in black women.

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