Interesting article (maybe some answers?)

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Interesting article (maybe some answers?)

Postby Zero » Sun Feb 27, 2005 9:50 am

Estrogen's effects in older women studied

February 27, 2005

Researchers believe they now know how estrogen turns from friend to foe as a woman ages. The finding could explain why hormone replacement therapy raises the risk of coronary artery disease after menopause.

In younger women, estrogen relaxes coronary blood vessels, but because of chemical changes that occur during menopause, the same hormone can suddenly do the opposite, claim scientists from the Medical College of Georgia.

By studying estrogen's effects on coronary blood vessel walls in pig heart tissue, the researchers determined that, in young women, estrogen acts as a vasodilator, stimulating nitric oxide synthase, or NOS, to produce nitric oxide. That's a good thing for the heart since nitric oxide regulates dilation of blood vessels.

When estrogen stimulates NOS in the arteries in the absence of two chemical helpers (tetrahydrobiopterin and L-arginine), which are found in younger women but less so in postmenopausal women, superoxide is formed instead, and that's when trouble starts. Superoxide enhances oxidation and promotes aging, researchers explained.

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