Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Monkey studies parallel WHI findings, point to importance

26.06.2007
Studies in female monkeys helped raise important questions about hormone therapy that were addressed in a Women’s Health Initiative study reported last week in the New England Journal of Medicine. The animal research, conducted at the Wake Forest University Primate Center, also suggests the role that stress can play in heart disease development and point to the need for early prevention of heart disease.

“Our research in monkeys suggests that stress can affect estrogen levels and may set the stage for heart disease later in life,” according to Jay Kaplan, Ph.D., professor of comparative medicine and director of the primate center. “It also suggests women need to start thinking about heart disease prevention before menopause. We found that the five years before menopause are when heart vessel disease begins to accelerate.”

Kaplan and Thomas Clarkson, D.V.M., have published numerous articles from their monkey research on the effects of hormone therapy on heart vessel disease. Their findings, along with research in humans, were a driving force behind the hypothesis that there is a “window of opportunity” during which hormone therapy can help prevent atherosclerosis. The theory was explored in the Women’s Health Initiative Coronary Artery Calcium Study (WHI-CAC).

WHI-CAC showed that younger postmenopausal women who take estrogen-alone hormone therapy have significantly less building of calcium plaque in their arteries compared to their peers who did not take hormone therapy. The plaque is considered a marker for future risk of atherosclerosis, the buildup of fatty deposits that can lead to heart attacks and strokes.

Clarkson began a study in 1988 funded by the National, Heart Lung and Blood Institute to study how hormone therapy affects heart disease risk in monkeys. He found that estrogen replacement administered to monkeys as soon as they were made surgically menopausal resulted in about a 70 percent inhibition in the progression of coronary artery atherosclerosis.

When treatment with estrogen or estrogen plus progestin was delayed for an equivalent of six years in women, however, there was no benefit. The work led to the hypothesis that estrogen inhibits the development of vessel disease, but may be ineffective, and even harmful, if the disease already exists.

“Clearly hormone therapy isn’t a drug for preventing or treating heart disease,” said Clarkson. “The question is whether, when hormone therapy is used for the treatment of menopausal symptoms, there are benefits associated with the cardiovascular system that might offset any documented risks.”

In addition to raising this important question about hormone therapy, the animal studies also have other important health implications for women. Women have traditionally been considered immune from heart disease until after menopause, when their estrogen levels dramatically drop. But the monkey studies suggest that stress can actually reduce estrogen levels much earlier in life and hasten the development of atherosclerosis, thus increasing the postmenopausal burden of coronary disease risk.

These effects may apply to up to half of premenopausal women, Kaplan said, emphasizing the need for young women to be educated about the relationship between reproductive health and chronic disease risk.

"Our research adds to the growing body of evidence that cardiovascular health after menopause is influenced by hormone levels many years earlier," said Kaplan. "The message for women is that anything that reduces estrogen levels in young adulthood - whether it be stress or exercise and diet habits - may put women on a high-risk course for heart disease."

Clarkson said that because cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death among women over age 55 – and because studies show that declines in estrogen in perimenopause can lead to its development – it is imperative to identify risk factors and promote early prevention.

“The evidence that levels of atherosclerosis present at the time of menopause are determined by premenopausal estrogen exposure is underappreciated,” he said.

Karen Richardson | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.wfubmc.edu

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht New study: How does Europe become a leading player for software and IT services?
03.04.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für System- und Innovationsforschung (ISI)

nachricht Reusable carbon nanotubes could be the water filter of the future, says RIT study
30.03.2017 | Rochester Institute of Technology

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Turmoil in sluggish electrons’ existence

An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.

We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...

Im Focus: Wafer-thin Magnetic Materials Developed for Future Quantum Technologies

Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.

Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...

Im Focus: World's thinnest hologram paves path to new 3-D world

Nano-hologram paves way for integration of 3-D holography into everyday electronics

An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...

Im Focus: Using graphene to create quantum bits

In the race to produce a quantum computer, a number of projects are seeking a way to create quantum bits -- or qubits -- that are stable, meaning they are not much affected by changes in their environment. This normally needs highly nonlinear non-dissipative elements capable of functioning at very low temperatures.

In pursuit of this goal, researchers at EPFL's Laboratory of Photonics and Quantum Measurements LPQM (STI/SB), have investigated a nonlinear graphene-based...

Im Focus: Bacteria harness the lotus effect to protect themselves

Biofilms: Researchers find the causes of water-repelling properties

Dental plaque and the viscous brown slime in drainpipes are two familiar examples of bacterial biofilms. Removing such bacterial depositions from surfaces is...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

AWK Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium 2017: Internet of Production for Agile Enterprises

23.05.2017 | Event News

Dortmund MST Conference presents Individualized Healthcare Solutions with micro and nanotechnology

22.05.2017 | Event News

Innovation 4.0: Shaping a humane fourth industrial revolution

17.05.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Scientists propose synestia, a new type of planetary object

23.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Zap! Graphene is bad news for bacteria

23.05.2017 | Life Sciences

Medical gamma-ray camera is now palm-sized

23.05.2017 | Medical Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>