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Circulation. 1997 Nov 4;96(9):2795-801.

The role of nitric oxide in coronary vascular effects of estrogen in postmenopausal women.

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1
Cardiology Branch and Office of Biostatistics Research, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Md 20892-1650, USA.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

At physiological concentrations, 17beta-estradiol selectively enhances endothelium-dependent coronary vasodilation by an unknown mechanism in postmenopausal women.

METHODS AND RESULTS:

To assess the contribution of nitric oxide (NO) to the vascular effects of estradiol, we measured coronary epicardial and microvascular responses to intracoronary acetylcholine (range, 3 to 300 microg/min for 2 minutes) before and after intracoronary estradiol 75 ng/min for 15 minutes in 20 estrogen-deficient women, 16 of whom had angiographic evidence of atherosclerosis or risk factors for atherosclerosis. This testing was repeated after inhibition of NO synthesis with intracoronary N(G)-monomethyl-L-arginine (L-NMMA) 64 micromol/min for 5 minutes. Estradiol increased acetylcholine-stimulated coronary flow from 54+/-48% (mean+/-SD) above baseline values before estradiol infusion to 100+/-63% above baseline values (P=.007) and decreased coronary resistance from 32+/-21% to 46+/-15% below baseline values (P=.007) at a coronary sinus estradiol concentration of 1725+/-705 pmol/L (470+/-192 pg/mL). Estradiol also tended to lessen the severity of acetylcholine-induced epicardial coronary artery vasoconstriction from 8+/-11% to 3+/-11% below baseline values (P=.123). However, during L-NMMA infusion, estradiol no longer potentiated the effects of acetylcholine on coronary flow dynamics; coronary flow increased 39+/-46% above baseline values and coronary resistance decreased 19+/-30% below baseline values (both P<.001 versus pre-L-NMMA responses). The epicardial diameter decreased 8+/-11% below baseline values (P=.06 versus pre-L-NMMA response).

CONCLUSIONS:

The effects of estradiol at physiological concentrations on endothelium-dependent coronary vasodilator responsiveness in postmenopausal women are mediated by enhanced bioavailability of NO, which may be responsible in part for the cardioprotective effects of estrogen.

PMID:
9386140
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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