Evidence accumulated over the past decade show that gonadal steroid hormones participate in an important way in the physiological and pa thophysiological regulation of the cardiovascular system. The hor monal profile appears to put males at a disadvantage biologically in terms of cardiovascular diseases. The incidence of hypertension is higher in men than in pre-monopausal women indicating an influence of gender on the hypertensive disease process. Males and females have equivalent cholesterol levels until puberty but males suffer an ex ponential increase in heart disease in their forties, while the female rise does not start until a decade later, after menopause. Animal and human studies provided ample evidence, that estrogens lower the levels of low density lipoproteins and keep high density lipoproteins elevated. These changes may be advantageous in the prevention of heart diesease. Co ronary artery atherosclerosis has been shown to be more pronounced in ovarectomized female monkeys as in intact females. Androgen, con versely, lowers the high density lipoproteins and elevates low density lipoproteins. Regarding blood pressure, it is well established that hypertension is more severe or develops more rapidly in male than fe male rats in several genetic forms of hypertension, and that gonadal steroid hormones are probably playing an important role in explaining this observation. Risk factors of human hypertension and coronary heart dies ease include menopause and ovarectomy.
1 Cardiovascular Sexual Dimorphism.- 2 Sexual Dimorphism of Cardiovascular Function: The Role of Androgens.- 3 Sexual Dimorphism in the Cardiovascular Actions of Vasopressin.- 4 Cardiovascular Adaptation to Pregnancy.- 5 Oral Contraceptives and Thrombotic Risk: A Critical Overview.- 6 Studies on the Mechanisms of Action of Steroids on Coagulation and Fibrinolysis.- 7 Can Animal Models Be Used to Predict the Hemostasiologic Effect of Steroid Hormones in Man?.- 8 Estradiol and Myointimal Proliferation.- 9 Modulation of the Extracellular Matrix by Sex Steroids.- 10 Vascular Non-genomic Effects of Estrogen.- 11 Effects of Estrogens and Progestins on Atherosclerosis in Primates.- 12 A Review of the Epidemiology of Postmenopausal Estrogens and the Risk of Coronary Heart Disease.