Hormone replacement therapy, inflammation, and hemostasis in elderly women

Mary Cushman, Elaine N. Meilahn, Bruce M. Psaty, Lewis H. Kuller, Adrian S. Dobs, Russell P. Tracy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Lipid-lowering by postmenopausal hormone therapy (HRT) explains only partly the assumed coronary risk reduction associated with therapy. To explore other possible mechanisms, we studied associations of HRT use with inflammation and hemostasis risk markers in women ≥65 years of age. Subjects were selected from 3393 participants in the fourth year examination of the Cardiovascular Health Study, an observational study of vascular disease risk factors. After excluding women with vascular disease, we compared levels of inflammation and hemostasis variables in the 230 women using unopposed estrogen and 60 using estrogen/progestin, with those of 196 nonusers selected as controls. Compared with nonusers, unopposed estrogen use was associated with 59% higher mean C-reactive protein (P<0.001), but with modestly lower levels of other inflammation indicators, fibrinogen, and alpha-1 acid glycoprotein (P<0.001). Factor VIIc was 16% higher among estrogen users (P<0.001), but this was not associated with higher thrombin production (prothrombin fragment 1-2), or increased fibrin breakdown (D-dimer). Concentration of plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 was 50% lower in both using groups (P<0.001) compared with nonusers, and this was associated with higher plasmin-antiplasmin complex: 8% higher in estrogen and 18% higher in estrogen/progestin users (P<0.05). Relationships between the markers and hormone use were less pronounced in estrogen/progestin users, with no association for C-reactive protein except in women in upper 2 tertiles of body mass index (P for interaction, 0.02). The direction and strength of the associations of HRT use with inflammation markers differed depending on the protein, so it is not clear whether HRT confers coronary risk reduction through an inflammation-sensitive mechanism. Associations with hemostasis markers indicated no association with evidence of procoagulation and a possible association with increased fibrinolytic activity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)893-899
Number of pages7
JournalArteriosclerosis, thrombosis, and vascular biology
Volume19
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 1999

Keywords

  • Blood coagulation
  • Elderly
  • Hormone replacement therapy
  • Inflammation
  • Women

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine

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