Researchers led by Dr Erik Debing at the Free University of Brussels in Belgium examined the levels of sex hormones in natural post-menopausal women (i.e. those not taking hormone replacement therapy) and their association with the presence of atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis is a condition where the arteries become hardened and blocked by the deposition of substances such as cholesterol. It is commonly seen as a precursor to heart disease. The research team examined 56 post-menopausal women who had atherosclerosis of the carotid artery (the artery that supplies blood to the head and neck) and compared the levels of sex hormones in their blood with 56 age-matched controls.
While they found no significant difference between the levels of other sex hormones, women with atherosclerosis had significantly lower testosterone levels than women who were free from the disease (0.23±0.12 vs. 0.31±0.20 µg/l). Even after the researchers had controlled for other risk factors associated with heart disease (such as diet, high blood pressure, smoking and diabetes), the relationship between low testosterone levels and atherosclerosis remained strong.
Although the hormone testosterone is usually associated with men, women also produce some testosterone, mainly from their ovaries and adrenal glands. Testosterone performs many essential functions in the bodies of both men and women including maintaining muscle strength and bone density. While statistics show that the risk of heart disease increases in post-menopausal compared to pre-menopausal women, the reasons for this have remained unclear.
Traditionally seen as a male disease, heart disease is now one of the leading causes of death in post-menopausal women in Europe. This is the first time that a case-control study has been carried out, directly comparing the levels of sex hormones in post-menopausal women with and without atherosclerosis of the carotid artery. Further work is now required to enhance our understanding of the mechanisms behind this relationship and the implications for health provision.
Researcher Dr Erik Debing said:
“This is the first time that a case-control study has found that post-menopausal women with athlerosclerosis have lower testosterone levels. Athlerosclerosis is the main precursor to heart disease, one of the major causes of death in post-menopausal women. Our work suggests that higher levels of testosterone may have a protective role against atherosclerosis in women who have undergone the menopause.
This research represents an important step forward in our understanding of the causes of atherosclerosis and will allow us to develop more effective treatments and advice. We now need to carry out further research to examine why low testosterone levels in post-menopausal women may predispose them to develop cardiovascular disease.”
Jennie Evans | alfa
Organ-on-a-chip mimics heart's biomechanical properties
23.02.2017 | Vanderbilt University
Researchers identify cause of hereditary skeletal muscle disorder
22.02.2017 | Klinikum der Universität München
In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport
Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...
The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.
The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...
Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...
Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".
Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...
13.02.2017 | Event News
10.02.2017 | Event News
09.02.2017 | Event News
24.02.2017 | Life Sciences
24.02.2017 | Life Sciences
24.02.2017 | Trade Fair News