Study suggests estrogen deficiency can lead to obesity-induced high blood pressure after menopause

Austin, TX -- At menopause, women lose hormone protection against heart (cardiovascular) and kidney (renal) diseases, and are likely to become obese. A research team has tested the idea that estrogen deficiency in aged females may trigger the development of high blood pressure and obesity. The results of their study, using an animal model, suggest that estrogen depletion can have these effects.

The study is entitled, "Role of Estrogens in Postmenopausal Obesity and Hypertension." It was conducted by Lourdes A. Fortepiani and Huimin Zhang, University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio (UTHSCSA), San Antonio, TX. The team will discuss its findings as part of the upcoming conference, Sex and Gender in Cardiovascular-Renal Physiology and Pathophysiology, being held August 9-12, 2007 at the Hyatt Regency Austin on Town Lake in Austin, TX. The event is the second scientific gathering to be sponsored by the American Physiological Society (APS; www.The-APS.org) this year.

To test their theory the researchers used 24 aged female rats. The ovaries were removed from two-thirds of the group (ovariectomized; ovx) while the ovaries of the other third of the group remained intact and served as controls. The researchers subdivided the ovx rats, giving half of the ovx group estrogen while the other half remained estrogen depleted.

Among the ovx rats, those that did not receive estrogen had significantly higher blood pressure than the control rats (126.2 versus 110.6 mmHg). The rats receiving estrogen had the lowest blood pressure levels of all (102.6 mmHg).

The researchers also noted that the rats which had their ovaries removed and did not receive estrogen compared to the intact rats:

  • gained twice as much weight as the controls
  • increased their leptin level by 70 percent
  • increased their blood glucose level by 35 percent
  • i

Contact: Donna Krupa
American Physiological Society

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