Cardioprotection in females: A role for nitric oxide and altered gene expression

Elizabeth Murphy, Charles Steenbergen

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article


A number of epidemiological and animal studies have suggested a cardioprotective role for estrogen. This review will focus on the cardioprotective role of estrogen in ischemia-reperfusion injury. Estrogen binding to receptors can lead to altered gene expression and estrogen has been shown to induce expression of a number of genes that have been suggested to be important in cardioprotection. Estrogen is reported to increase expression of the plasma membrane glucose transporter GLUT4 and to increase carbohydrate metabolism. Estrogen has also been reported to increase mitochondrial biogenesis and to alter mitochondrial generation of reactive oxygen species. Estrogen results in upregulation of cardiac eNOS and nNOS, which have been shown previously to be important mediators of cardioprotection. Nitric oxide has been shown to result in S-nitrosylation and inhibition of the L-type calcium channel, thereby reducing calcium loading during ischemia. Nitric oxide has also been reported to inhibit complex I and inhibition of complex I has been reported to reduce activation of the mitochondrial permeability transition pore. Nitric oxide has been shown to result in activation of the mitochondrial KATP channel, which has been shown to be involved in cardioprotection. Estrogen can also activate rapid non-genomic pathways that activate cardioprotective-signaling pathways such as the phosphatidylinositol-3-kinase (PI-3 kinase) pathway which has also been shown to initiate protection. Taken together, estrogen by genomic and non-genomic pathways can result in the initiation of a number of signaling pathways that enhance cardioprotection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)293-300
Number of pages8
JournalHeart Failure Reviews
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - Dec 1 2007


  • Estrogen
  • Mitochondria
  • Nitric oxide

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Cardioprotection in females: A role for nitric oxide and altered gene expression'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this