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Circulation. 1997 Sep 16;96(6):1964-9.

Raloxifene inhibits aortic accumulation of cholesterol in ovariectomized, cholesterol-fed rabbits.

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  • 1Center for Clinical and Basic Research, Ballerup, Denmark.



The beneficial effect of long-term hormone replacement therapy in terms of a decreased risk of cardiovascular disease is now generally accepted. Raloxifene, a selective estrogen receptor modulator, has demonstrated hypolipidemic properties while leaving the endometrium unstimulated.


For our study of the effects of raloxifene on atherosclerosis, 75 rabbits were ovariectomized and treated with either raloxifene, 17beta-estradiol, or placebo; 25 rabbits were sham operated and treated with placebo. After 45 weeks, the raloxifene group had two thirds of the aortic atherosclerosis, as evaluated by the cholesterol content of the proximal inner part of the aorta, found in the placebo group (placebo, 577+/-55.1 nmol/mg protein; raloxifene, 397+/-53.6 nmol/mg protein; P<.05); the estrogen group had one third of the aortic atherosclerosis in the placebo group (estrogen, 177+/-32.1 nmol/mg protein; P<.001). The sham-operated group (473+/-59.6 nmol/mg protein) was not significantly different from placebo. These effects were only partly explained by the changes in serum lipids and lipoproteins, and treatment with both estrogen and raloxifene independently predicted the response in aorta cholesterol. Because plasma levels of total raloxifene were low relative to clinical values in postmenopausal women, dose-response data for raloxifene are required.


Our findings indicate that raloxifene hydrochloride has a potentially important antiatherogenic effect, analogous to that observed with estrogen in this model.

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