Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Estrogen treatment may help reverse severe pulmonary hypertension

16.09.2011
UCLA researchers have found that the hormone estrogen may help reverse advanced pulmonary hypertension, a rare and serious condition that affects 2 to 3 million individuals in the U.S., mostly women, and can lead to heart failure.

The condition causes a progressive increase in blood pressure in the main pulmonary artery, which originates in the heart's right ventricle and delivers blood to the lungs. The rise in pressure impairs heart function by enlarging the right ventricle, potentially leading to heart failure.

Published in the Sept. 15 issue of the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, the preclinical study shows that in rats, estrogen treatment can reverse the progression of pulmonary hypertension to heart failure and can restore lung and ventricle structure and function.

The disease progresses slowly, so most patients don't seek treatment until major symptoms occur, such as shortness of breath, dizziness and fainting. According to researchers, current medication for pulmonary hypertension only temporarily reduces the disease's severity. For advanced pulmonary hypertension, there are fewer options, and the condition often necessitates a lung transplant.

"Unfortunately, up until now, there hasn't been an ideal pharmacological therapy to treat advanced pulmonary hypertension," said senior study author Mansoureh Eghbali, Ph.D., an assistant professor of anesthesiology at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA who has a strong background in studying the role of gender and estrogen in cardiovascular diseases. "We hope that this early study may offer insight into new therapies."

The UCLA team found that by treating rats with severe pulmonary hypertension with low doses of estrogen, they were able to prevent the disease from progressing to right-ventricular heart failure; this did not happen in untreated rats.

Systolic blood pressure and ejection fraction — the volume of blood being pumped out of the heart's right chamber with each heart beat — also improved. Tests showed that lung weight, which can increase with the disease and resulting heart-ventricle enlargement, was also corrected. After 10 days of estrogen treatment, function returned to an almost normal state.

The researchers stopped the estrogen therapy after 10 days but continued to observe some of the treated rats. They tracked the continued improvement and found almost full restoration of systolic blood pressure and ejection fraction to normal levels after an additional 12 days.

"We were surprised to find this continued benefit, even after we stopped the estrogen treatment," said the study's first author, Dr. Soban Umar, a UCLA Department of Anesthesiology researcher who has studied pulmonary hypertension and right-ventricular heart failure and is a key member of Eghbali's laboratory team. "These findings suggest that even short-term estrogen therapy may suffice to reverse the disease."

All rats with severe pulmonary hypertension that were treated with estrogen survived by the study's end. Only 25 percent of the untreated rats survived.

The team also explored how estrogen could work in reversing the disease by studying several cellular and molecular mechanisms.

They found that the number of inflammatory cells in rats with pulmonary hypertension increased five-fold, compared with normal rats. In the animals treated with estrogen, this was reversed to normal. The team found that estrogen reduced regulation of a pro-inflammatory gene that also plays a key role in disease development caused by pulmonary hypertension. They also found that estrogen had an inhibitory effect on lung fibrosis.

In addition, the team observed that estrogen therapy restored blood vessels in the lungs and right ventricle whose loss is associated with the disease.

Further study identified that estrogen exerts its biological effects on pulmonary hypertension through a receptor called estrogen receptor beta, a protein that regulates estrogen's activity in the body.

"Estrogen appears to work through an interplay of several factors, including suppression of lung inflammation and fibrosis, as well as reversal of ventricle enlargement," Eghbali said. "We may be able to utilize estrogen receptor beta in the development of future therapies to stimulate estrogen activity to treat pulmonary hypertension."

Researchers had also tested estrogen receptor alpha, the other receptor that controls estrogen activity, but found that it wasn't as effective in treating pulmonary hypertension.

Eghbali added that estrogen receptor beta may prove to be a favorable therapeutic target, since this receptor may require only a short treatment duration and low dosage and has less pro-estrogenic effects on the breasts and uterus than estrogen receptor alpha.

Pulmonary hypertension affects mostly younger women, despite the fact that females in this age group should be under the protective benefits of natural estrogen produced by the body, Eghbali said.

"These patients may have a genetic mutation that is interfering in how estrogen receptor beta directs estrogen activity that is leading to pulmonary hypertension," she said.

Her team's next step is to explore these genetic questions. Currently, Umar and Eghbali are collaborating with UCLA pulmonary hypertension physicians to investigate gender-related issues and to define the role of estrogen in patients with this deadly disease.

The study was funded by the National Institutes of Health.

Additional authors included Andrea Lorga, Humann Matori, Rangarajan Nadadur, Jingyuan Li and Federica Maltese of the department of anesthesiology in the division of molecular medicine at the Geffen School of Medicine, and Arnoud van der Laarse of the department of cardiology at Leiden University Medical Center in the Netherlands.

For more news, visit the UCLA Newsroom and follow us on Twitter.

Rachel Champeau | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.ucla.edu

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Rabies viruses reveal wiring in transparent brains
19.01.2017 | Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn

nachricht On track to heal leukaemia
18.01.2017 | Universitätsspital Bern

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Traffic jam in empty space

New success for Konstanz physicists in studying the quantum vacuum

An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Sustainable Water use in Agriculture in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

19.01.2017 | Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

New Study Will Help Find the Best Locations for Thermal Power Stations in Iceland

19.01.2017 | Earth Sciences

Not of Divided Mind

19.01.2017 | Life Sciences

Molecule flash mob

19.01.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>