Effect of oestrogen replacement therapy on development of experimental arteriosclerosis: a study in transplanted and balloon-injured rabbit aortas.

Atherosclerosis

PubMedID: 7661878

Holm P, Andersen HO, Nordestgaard BG, Hansen BF, Kjeldsen K, Stender S. Effect of oestrogen replacement therapy on development of experimental arteriosclerosis: a study in transplanted and balloon-injured rabbit aortas. Atherosclerosis. 1995;115(2):191-200.
The mechanism underlying possible protection of oestrogen replacement therapy against cardiovascular disease appears to go beyond beneficial changes in plasma lipoproteins. A direct action of oestrogen on the metabolism of lipoproteins after entering the arterial wall may occur. The present study evaluated whether oestrogen replacement therapy affects the development of experimental arteriosclerosis in immunologically injured (experiment A + B) and balloon-injured (experiment B) aortas in ovariectomized rabbits maintained at a human level of plasma cholesterol; both models involve severe damage to the endothelium with resulting rapid accumulation of lipoproteins in the arterial intima and therefore appear suitable for studying factors directly affecting subendothelial lipoprotein metabolism. In experiment A, dietary cholesterol required to maintain a human level of plasma cholesterol was significantly higher for the oestrogen group than for the placebo group. Similarly, cholesterol accumulation in the aortic grafts was borderline higher for the oestrogen than the placebo group, whilst intimal hyperplasia was without difference between the groups. Due to a modified schedule of cholesterol feeding in experiment B, oestrogen and placebo groups received the same amount of dietary cholesterol, and cholesterol accumulation and intimal hyperplasia were similar in immunologically injured and balloon-injured parts of the aorta in both groups. These results suggest that in the female rabbit maintained at a human level of plasma cholesterol, oestrogen replacement therapy has no direct action on the development of experimental arteriosclerosis when induced by immunological or mechanical injury to the endothelium.