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Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2000 Apr;903:501-9.

Vascular actions of estrogen and Alzheimer's disease.

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Woodlands Medical and Research Center, Oldsmar, Florida 34677, USA.


Women are two to three times more likely to develop late-onset Alzheimer's disease (AD) than age-matched men. A large number of observational reports and a few randomized clinical trials have indicated that estrogen replacement therapy (ERT) may retard the development and severity of dementia in postmenopausal women. A chronic inflammatory reaction mediated by abnormal deposition of proteins such as amyloid-beta (A beta) is central to the pathology of AD. We investigated the effect of low doses of conjugated estrogen (Premarin) in an animal model of A beta-induced vascular disruption and inflammatory reaction. Estrogen prevented vascular deposition of A beta, endothelial and vessel wall disruption with plasma leakage, platelet and mast cell activation, and characteristic features of an inflammatory reaction: adhesion and transmigration of leukocytes. The beneficial effect was lost when estrogen treatment was discontinued. This novel protective effect of estrogen against A beta-induced vascular dysfunction may contribute to the therapeutic efficacy of estrogen in AD and coronary vascular disease.

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