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Sex Steroids and the Endothelium

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Gonadal steroids clearly influence the course of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease in women. This observation has suggested that these hormones have beneficial effects on the physiology of the vascular wall. Increased arterial vascular caliber after estrogen treatment, decreased lipid levels in subjects receiving hormone replacement therapy, and the markedly decreased extent of atherosclerotic plaque formation in young women as compared with young men support a cardioprotective effect of ovarian steroids. Generally, it appears that the effects of 17b-estradiol are particularly beneficial, and the mechanism of action is targeted largely to the endothelial cell. This review describes the evidence for positive effects of estrogens on endothelial cell biology and considers potential mechanisms for estrogen actions on endothelial cell signal transduction.

Keywords: angiogenesis; atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease; calcium signaling; endothelial cell signal transduction; endothelium; plasminogen activator inhibitor 1; selective estrogen receptor modulator SERM raloxif; sex steroids; transcription; transduction; vascular biology; vascular smooth muscle cell VSMC relaxation; very low density lipoprotein VLDL

Document Type: Review Article


Publication date: 2000-05-01

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  • Current Medicinal Chemistry covers all the latest and outstanding developments in medicinal chemistry and rational drug design. Each issue contains a series of timely in-depth reviews written by leaders in the field covering a range of the current topics in medicinal chemistry. Current Medicinal Chemistry is an essential journal for every medicinal chemist who wishes to be kept informed and up-to-date with the latest and most important developments.
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