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Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol. 2002 Mar 1;22(3):438-42.

Greater oxidative stress in healthy young men compared with premenopausal women.

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Cardiovascular Medicine, Graduate School of Medical Sciences, Kyushu University, Fukuoka, Japan.


Coronary risk factors, including age, hypertension, diabetes mellitus, hyperlipidemia, and smoking, are associated with enhanced oxidative stress, which is implicated as a potential mechanism for atherogenesis and atherosclerotic cardiovascular diseases. Male sex is one of the well-known cardiovascular risk factors. We tested the hypothesis that oxidative stress is greater in men than in women. Plasma thiobarbituric acid-reactive substances (TBARS) and urinary 8-isoprostaglandin F2alpha (8-iso-PGF2alpha) were measured in 52 young men and 51 age-matched women. The subjects were healthy, were not smokers, and were not taking any medications or vitamins. Age, blood pressure, plasma cholesterol, and glucose did not differ between the groups. Baseline TBARS (2.32 +/- 0.11 [men] versus 1.87 +/- 0.09 [women] nmol/mL, P<0.01) and 8-iso-PGF2alpha (292 +/- 56 [men] versus 164 +/- 25 [women] pg/mg creatinine, P<0.05) were higher in men than in women. Supplementation of antioxidant vitamins for 4 weeks in men produced a significant reduction in TBARS and 8-iso-PGF2alpha by 34% (P<0.01) and 48% (P<0.05), respectively. Plasma superoxide dismutase, catalase, and vitamin E levels were comparable between the groups. Enhanced oxidative stress in men may provide a biochemical link between male sex and atherosclerotic diseases related to oxidative stress.

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