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Fundam Clin Pharmacol. 2006 Feb;20(1):1-8.

Evidences of the gender-related differences in cardiac repolarization and the underlying mechanisms in different animal species and human.

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Department of Pharmacology, School of Medicine, Tongji University, 1239 Siping Road, Shanghai 200092, China.


Clinical and experimental studies have shown that gender differences exist in cardiac repolarization in various animal species and human, as is evidenced by significantly longer QT, JT intervals and action potential duration in females than in males due to a reduced repolarization reserve in females. The latter is shown by the relatively greater increase in ventricular repolarization and higher incidence of torsades de pointes (TdP) in preparations from females by drugs blocking repolarizing K(+) currents. These results can be modulated by gonadectomy, suggesting that gonadal steroids are important determinants of gender difference in repolarization. In human subjects, QT and JT intervals are longer in women, whereas QT dispersion and Tp-e interval (the interval from the peak to the end of T wave) are longer in men. At slow heart rates greater prolongation in QT and increase in transmural repolarization heterogeneity (i.e. increase in Tp-e) may predispose to TdP tachycardias in women. In healthy postmenopausal women, hormone replacement therapy with estrogen alone usually produced a prolongation of QT interval, while estrogen plus progesterone had no significant effects on QT interval but reduced QT dispersion. Along with these, there are still conflicting data reported. Further work is needed before the elucidation of the basis of gender differences in ventricular repolarization.

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