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Effects of Estrogen in Gender-dependent Fetal Programming of Adult Cardiovascular Dysfunction

[ Vol. 17 , Issue. 2 ]

Author(s):

Zewen Chen, Lei Wang, Jun Ke and Daliao Xiao*   Pages 147 - 152 ( 6 )

Abstract:


Background: Epidemiological studies and experimental studies have demonstrated that intrauterine adverse environment increases the risk of Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) in adulthood. However, whether an individual develops a cardiovascular dysfunctional phenotype may depend on genetic background, age, and sex.

Methods: In this review, we summarize some of the recent experimental animal studies in the developmental programming of adult CVD with an emphasis on sex differences and the potential role of estrogen in mediating sexual dimorphism.

Results: Few epidemiological studies report the effect of sex on the developmental programming of CVD. However, numerous experimental animal studies have shown a sex difference in fetal programming of adult cardiovascular dysfunction. Most of the animal studies indicate that male offspring develop cardiovascular dysfunction and CVD in adulthood, whereas adult females appear to be protected. Estrogen is one of the key factors that contributes to the sex difference of adult CVD. Estrogen/its Receptor (ER) may interact with the RAS system by changes of DNA methylation patterns at the target gene promoter, serve as an antioxidant to counteract the prenatal insults-induced heightened ROS, and function as an eNOS activator to increase vasodilation, resulting in the protection of female offspring from the development of hypertension and other CVDs.

Conclusion: These studies suggest that estrogen/ER may contribute to sex differences in cardiovascular response to an adverse intrauterine environment and play a significant role in modulating the cardiovascular response in adulthood.

Keywords:

Sex difference, fetal programming, cardiovascular dysfunction, estrogen, blood pressure, hypertensive.

Affiliation:

Center for Perinatal Biology, Department of Basic Sciences, Loma Linda University School of Medicine, Loma Linda, CA 92350, Center for Perinatal Biology, Department of Basic Sciences, Loma Linda University School of Medicine, Loma Linda, CA 92350, Center for Perinatal Biology, Department of Basic Sciences, Loma Linda University School of Medicine, Loma Linda, CA 92350, Center for Perinatal Biology, Department of Basic Sciences, Loma Linda University School of Medicine, Loma Linda, CA 92350

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