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Oregon study raises questions on synthetic progestins
Date:3/10/2008

a R. Meendering, a former UO doctoral student now a professor of exercise science at the University of Nebraska in Omaha -- studied the effects of the sex hormone estradiol by itself and in combination with MPA on endothelial function of the brachial artery. The health of the endothelium in this artery has been shown to be a telling proxy for the coronary arteries and a good predictor of cardiovascular risk.

When researchers gave an oral version of MPA to determine its impact, they found that it wiped out the positive effects on endothelial function that estradiol had provided. MPA reduced the function by reducing the brachial artery's ability to dilate -- grow bigger in diameter -- in response to the stress of changing blood flow, Kaplan said.

UO researchers also found that MPA had an effect on concentrations of endothelin-1, a peptide that promotes cell division and serves as a mediator of inflammation. It also acts as a constricting factor for blood vessels. When peptide levels rise, endothelin-1 is suspected to play a key role in many diseases of the airways, pulmonary circulation, inflammatory lung diseases and vasoconstriction of blood vessels. UO researchers saw levels decline with estradiol alone, but increase substantially with the addition of MPA, negating the benefits of the estrogen.

"There is an overwhelming amount of evidence to suggest that estrogen is beneficial to arterial vascular health of women," Meendering said. "Since the WHI found either no benefit or a slight increase in adverse cardiovascular events in postmenopausal women taking combination hormone-replacement therapy containing estrogen and MPA, many have questioned the vascular effects MPA and its use in postmenopausal women. This led our group to question how MPA affects the vasculature in young women.

"We need to be taking the time to find out if different synthetic hormones have different effects on vascular health in young women," she said. "It's no
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Contact: Jim Barlow
jebarlow@uoregon.edu
541-346-3491
University of Oregon
Source:Eurekalert  

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