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Mol Cell Biochem. 1996 Jul-Aug;160-161:307-13.

Estrogen effects in the heart.

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Department of Medicine, University of W├╝rzburg, Germany.


Gender specific differences in cardiovascular disease are largely mediated by sex hormones. The use of estrogens significantly reduces the overall incidence of heart disease in postmenopausal women. Beneficial effects of estrogens on plasma lipoprotein levels are clearly established. However, these do not explain the magnitude of risk reduction seen in clinical studies. Thus additional and currently unknown functions of estrogens must be operative. Elucidation of the exact estrogen action in the heart will have important implications in the treatment of cardiovascular disease. It will probably enhance the therapeutic repertoire in treating heart disease, the most common cause of death in industrialized countries. We will review the current understanding of the function of estrogens in the heart and discuss potential strategies on how to apply these data to clinical practice.

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