Cardiovascular disease 'reduced through oestrogen in women'

12 August 2011

Female patients with heart problems could be benefitting from the oestrogen sex hormone as it helps keep cardiovascular disease in check.

New research from Queen Mary, University of London suggests that the hormone helps white blood cells by preventing them from sticking to the sides of blood vessels, which can be a major cause of blockages in the circulatory system.

It also suggests why heart problems tend to be higher in men on average and also rise dramatically among women post-menopause.

"This study brings us a step closer to understanding how natural oestrogen might help protect our blood vessels," explained lead researcher Dr Suchita Nadkarni from the William Harvey Research Institute in London.

The paper, which was published yesterday (August 11th) in the American Heart Association journal Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology, explained that oestrogen moves the protein annexin-A1 that prevents sticking from inside the white blood cell to outside of it, so helping to monitor cell adhesive rates.

In another study funded partly by the British Heart Foundation, the Lancet reported that early detection rates for congenital heart defects could be improved through a simple blood oxygen level test of babies.

Posted by Jeanette Royston

1 Nadkarni, Suchita, et al., Activation of the Annexin A1 Pathway Underlies the Protective Effects Exerted by Estrogen in Polymorphonuclear Leukocytes." Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology. Thursday August 11th 2011.

2 Ewer, Andrew K., et al., " Screening with pulse oximetry for congenital heart disease". The Lancet. Friday August 5 2011.

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