Recently, the mechanism of longevity in females was proposed to be associated with female hormones. This study examined the effect of aging and sex on vascular endothelial function, and the relationship between female hormone level and endothelial function by ischemic reactive hyperemic response in the forearm using plethysmography. The study population consisted of 246 healthy subjects aged from 20 to 76 years (119 males, 127 females) and 20 healthy females aged 85 years and older (85 to 103 years; mean age 94 years) without distinct cardiovascular disease, hypertension, diabetes mellitus, renal disease, liver dysfunction or anemia. Levels of the female hormones, estradiol and estriol, were measured in females aged more than 85 years. The duration of reactive hyperemia decreased with aging, but the difference between males and females was not significant at any age. In females, the duration was markedly decreased from 110 +/- 36 sec in the fifties to 81 +/- 29 sec in the sixties or older (p < 0.05). Excess flow also showed similar changes to the duration of reactive hyperemia. The duration of reactive hyperemia and excess flow in females aged 85 years and older were similar to those in the fifties, but was significantly longer than those in females 60 years or older. The concentrations of estradiol (44.9 +/- 27.1 pg/ml) and estriol (22.1 +/- 13.4 pg/ml) in females aged 85 years were higher than in the sixties. There was a positive correlation between the duration of reactive hyperemia and the concentration of estradiol (r = 0.56, p < 0.01) or estriol (r = 0.57, p < 0.01). In summary, vascular endothelial function was impaired gradually with aging, but preservation of the function in healthy, very old females was closely associated with levels of female hormone.
Ohata S, Ishibashi Y, Hirano Y, Sakane T, Takahashi N, Sugamori T, Inoue S, Katoh H, Ochiai K, Sano K, Murakami Y, Shimada T. Relationship between endothelial function and female hormone level in very old females: evaluation from ischemic reactive hyperemic response in forearm vessels. J Cardiol. 2000 June Fourth Department of Internal Medicine, Shimane Medical University.