Postmenopausal estrogen replacement therapy (ERT) may reduce the clinical manifestations of coronary heart disease by favorably modulating coronary vasoreactivity. Intravenous ethinyl estradiol acutely increases coronary flow in postmenopausal women not receiving ERT. Because several vasoactive agents induce vasomotor tolerance when administered on a long-term basis, we hypothesized that long-term ERT attenuates the acute coronary vasomotor effects of intravenous ethinyl estradiol. To test this hypothesis, coronary hemodynamics were determined before and 15 minutes after intravenous ethinyl estradiol (35 micrograms) in 10 postmenopausal women who were receiving long-term conjugated ERT (group 1) and 10 who had never received ERT (group 2). Estradiol administration in group 1 was not associated with significant changes in coronary flow or resistance. However, women in group 2 exhibited a 28.6% +/- 6.5% (p < 0.001) increase in coronary flow and a 19.9% +/- 3.5% (p = 0.008) decrease in resistance. These results demonstrate that long-term ERT significantly attenuates the response of coronary arteries to the acute vasomotor effects of a high dose of estradiol. This response may be caused by long-term estrogen-induced coronary flow augmentation or to the development of vasomotor tolerance to estrogen.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine