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Atherosclerosis. 2000 Mar;149(1):157-62.

Insulin-like growth factor binding protein-1 (IGFBP-1) and IGF-I during oral and transdermal estrogen replacement therapy: relation to lipoprotein(a) levels.

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Department of Internal Medicine and Biocenter Oulu, University of Oulu, Kajaanintie 50, FIN-90220, Oulu, Finland.


Low levels of insulin-like growth factor binding protein-1 (IGFBP-1) have recently been associated with several risk factors for cardiovascular disease. The effects of estrogen replacement therapy (ERT) on plasma IGFBP-1 levels are, however, unclear. A double-blind, placebo-controlled study for 6 months was conducted in 73 hysterectomized postmenopausal women randomized into two groups: oral estradiol (E2) valerate, 2 mg/day (n = 35) and transdermal E2 gel, 1 mg/day (n=38). Plasma IGFBP-1, insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-I) and lipoprotein(a) (Lp(a)) were determined at baseline, 3 and 6 months. The groups were similar for age and BMI. The baseline levels of estrone (E1), E2, IGFBP-1, IGF-I and Lp(a) did not differ between the groups. During treatment, serum estradiol concentrations increased in both groups. During oral ERT, IGFBP-1 levels increased by 104% (P<0.001), whereas IGF-I levels decreased by 13% (mean, P<0.05). IGF-I and IGFBP-1 levels remained unchanged in the transdermal group. Lp(a) levels decreased by 23% (median, P<0.001) in the oral group, but were unaffected by transdermal therapy. The change in IGFBP-1 concentrations during oral ERT showed an inverse correlation to that in Lp(a) (r = -0.40, P<0.05, Spearman correlation). In conclusion, oral ERT seems to enhance plasma levels of IGFBP-1, which may be one reason for the reduced Lp(a) levels.

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