Postmenopausal Progesterone Impacts Vascular Function

Higher levels blunt rise in blood pressure caused by angiotensin II

THURSDAY, Oct. 18 (HealthDay News) -- Increased concentrations of progesterone in postmenopausal women in low-sodium balance blunt pressor and renovascular responses to infused angiotensin II, according to a report published online Sept. 25 in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

Emily D. Szmuilowicz, M.D., of the Harvard Medical School in Boston, and colleagues studied the relationship between sex hormone levels and vascular responses to infused angiotensin II in 34 hypertensive women who were fed high-sodium and then low-sodium diets.

In low-sodium balance, women with higher serum progesterone concentrations experienced smaller increases in systolic and diastolic blood pressure and renal vascular resistance in response to angiotensin II compared to those with lower progesterone levels, suggesting that progesterone blunts the vascular effects of angiotensin II. No significant correlation was observed between estradiol concentration and vascular responses to angiotensin II. No relationships between sex hormones and vascular responses were noted for high-sodium balance.

"These data show for the first time that variation in postmenopausal progesterone levels may impact vascular function," the authors write.

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