Critical element that improves vascular function in postmenopausal women found
Researchers studying why arteries stiffen in postmenopausal women have found a specific chemical cofactor that dramatically improves vascular function.
Kerrie Moreau, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Medicine at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, discovered that BH4 or tetrahydrobiopterin plays a key role in arterial health of women. BH4 is a critical cofactor of the enzyme endothelial nitric oxide synthase or eNOS. The two combine to create nitric oxide which is highly beneficial to arterial health.
"Nitric oxide causes arteries to dilate, without it they are more constricted which can lead to arterial stiffening. That stiffening can cause high blood pressure, thickening of the left ventricle and increase the risk for stroke, heart disease and dementia" said Moreau, who works in the Division of Geriatrics at CU School of Medicine. "If there is not enough BH4, the eNOS enzymatic function does not work as well and less nitric oxide is produced. That leads to an increase in free radical formation or oxidative stress. Increased oxidative stress can decrease the amount of nitric oxide and BH4, creating a vicious cycle."
The study will be published in the American Journal of Physiology Heart and Circulatory Physiology.
Moreau, the lead researcher in the study, gave BH4 to estrogen-deficient, postmenopausal women and assessed them three hours later. She found that dilation of the arteries increased while stiffness decreased. When premenopausal women were given BH4, nothing happened.
Researchers also took two groups of postmenopausal women and gave one group a placebo and the other estrogen patches. They examined the results 48 hours later and discovered those who took estrogen experienced similar effects to those given BH4 while the women who received placebos experienced no changes. When the women who were taking estrogen were also given BH4 there was no further benefit.
"That suggests estrogen may benefit arteries by maintaining BH4 levels," Moreau said. "Having adequate BH4 levels would result in increased nitric oxide and decreased free radicals, promoting vasodilatation and reducing arterial stiffness."
It has been long known that menopause has significant impacts on women's health.
"Menopause is like an accelerated aging process," Moreau said."When women hit menopause you see this dramatic decline in arterial health." Moreau's discovery of the key role BH4 plays in this process sheds more light on the decline in arterial health and why it may not be inevitable.
"As we identify the causes of the vascular health decline we can next intervene with appropriate therapeutic strategies including exercise, diet and/or hormone therapy," she said. "Heart disease is the number one killer of men and women but it is underappreciated in women who need a better understanding of cardiovascular health."
Provided by University of Colorado Denver
- New therapy could preserve vessel function after heart attack Sep 10, 2007 | not rated yet | 0
- Compound Shows Promise Against Intractable Heart Failure Feb 11, 2010 | not rated yet | 0
- Drug therapy for PKU reverses heart damage May 13, 2008 | not rated yet | 0
- Cholesterol byproduct blocks heart health benefits of estrogen Sep 16, 2007 | not rated yet | 0
- Oregon study raises questions on synthetic progestins Mar 10, 2008 | not rated yet | 0
- Motion perception revisited: High Phi effect challenges established motion perception assumptions Apr 23, 2013 | 3 / 5 (2) | 2
- Anything you can do I can do better: Neuromolecular foundations of the superiority illusion (Update) Apr 02, 2013 | 4.5 / 5 (11) | 5
- The visual system as economist: Neural resource allocation in visual adaptation Mar 30, 2013 | 5 / 5 (2) | 9
- Separate lives: Neuronal and organismal lifespans decoupled Mar 27, 2013 | 4.9 / 5 (8) | 0
- Sizing things up: The evolutionary neurobiology of scale invariance Feb 28, 2013 | 4.8 / 5 (10) | 14
How can there be villous adenoma in colon, if there are no villi there
16 hours ago As title suggest. Thanks :smile:
How can there be a term called "intestinal metaplasia" of stomach
May 21, 2013 Hello everyone, Ok Stomach's normal epithelium is simple columnar, now in intestinal type of adenocarcinoma of stomach it undergoes "intestinal...
Pressure-volume curve: Elastic Recoil Pressure don't make sense
May 18, 2013 From pressure-volume curve of the lung and chest wall (attached photo), I don't understand why would the elastic recoil pressure of the lung is...
If you became brain-dead, would you want them to pull the plug?
May 17, 2013 I'd want the rest of me to stay alive. Sure it's a lousy way to live but it beats being all-the-way dead. Maybe if I make it 20 years they'll...
MRI bill question
May 15, 2013 Dear PFers, The hospital gave us a $12k bill for one MRI (head with contrast). The people I talked to at the hospital tell me that they do not...
Ratio of Hydrogen of Oxygen in Dessicated Animal Protein
May 13, 2013 As an experiment, for the past few months I've been consuming at least one portion of Jell-O or unflavored Knox gelatin per day. I'm 64, in very...
- More from Physics Forums - Medical Sciences
More news stories
Every day, their baby stopped breathing, his collapsed bronchus blocking the crucial flow of air to his lungs. April and Bryan Gionfriddo watched helplessly, just praying that somehow the dire predictions ...
Medical research 6 hours ago | 5 / 5 (1) | 0
The human gut is loaded with commensal bacteria – "good" microbes that, among other functions, help the body digest food. The gastrointestinal tract contains literally trillions of such cells, and yet the ...
Medical research 10 hours ago | 5 / 5 (3) | 0 |
Swiss scientists reveal the mechanism responsible for aging hidden deep within mitochondria—and dramatically slow it down in worms by administering antibiotics to the young.
Medical research 10 hours ago | 4.8 / 5 (6) | 0 |
On May 22, JoVE will publish details of a technique to measure the health of human genetic material in relation to a patient's age. The method is demonstrated by the laboratory of Dr. Gil Atzmon at New York's Albert Einste ...
Medical research 13 hours ago | not rated yet | 0
(Medical Xpress)—Scientists supported by the National Institutes of Health have a new theory as to why a woman's fertility declines after her mid-30s. They also suggest an approach that might help slow ...
Medical research 15 hours ago | not rated yet | 0 |
Researchers from Queen Mary, University of London have led the largest sequencing study of human disease to date, investigating the genetic basis of six autoimmune diseases.
10 hours ago | 4 / 5 (1) | 0 |
Until now, little was scientifically known about the human potential to cultivate compassion—the emotional state of caring for people who are suffering in a way that motivates altruistic behavior.
7 hours ago | 5 / 5 (2) | 2 |
(HealthDay)—Migraines and depression can each cause a great deal of suffering, but new research indicates the combination of the two may be linked to something else entirely—a smaller brain.
7 hours ago | 5 / 5 (1) | 0 |
A new approach for immunizing against influenza elicited a more potent immune response and broader protection than the currently licensed seasonal influenza vaccines when tested in mice and ferrets. The vaccine ...
8 hours ago | not rated yet | 0 |
In a series of lab experiments designed to unravel the workings of a key enzyme widely considered a possible trigger of rheumatoid arthritis, researchers at Johns Hopkins have found that in the most severe ...
9 hours ago | 5 / 5 (1) | 0 |
Researchers have developed a new drug delivery system that allows inhalation of chemotherapeutic drugs to help treat lung cancer, and in laboratory and animal tests it appears to reduce the systemic damage ...
9 hours ago | not rated yet | 0 |