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Estrogen's Role In Regulating Common Health Disease Risks Identified

Update Date: Nov 14, 2014 02:31 PM EST

Researchers have identified an estrogen receptor, previously shown to regulate blood pressure in women, also plays a significant role in regulating low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels, according to a new study. 

LDL is also known as bad cholesterol that drives the process, leading to heart disease.

The study has found evidence that the hormone estrogen plays a key role in regulating two of the most common risk factors for heart disease and stroke. The findings of the study may also help explain why post-menopausal women with lower levels of estrogen are more likely to have multiple risk factors for heart disease. 

Researchers showed that G-protein couples with estrogen receptor 30 when activated by estrogen helps lower LDL cholesterol levels in the blood by inhibiting the protein PCSK-9. 

"This is a really important finding because there has always been some indication that estrogen was protective in lowering cholesterol, but we didn't understand how," Dr. Ross Feldman, a clinical pharmacologist at London Health Sciences Centre and a scientist at the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry's Robarts Research Institute, in the press release. "The mechanism of estrogen's effect was kind of a black box because we didn't know the receptors responsible for doing it."

"What we found is that women who have this same defective GPER, have higher LDL levels. That tells us that the second rate GPER is important not only for blood pressure, but for cholesterol levels as well," Dr. Feldman added. "Together, these are the two most powerful risk factors in terms of heart disease and both are adversely affected by having a second-rate GPER."

The study was published in the journal Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology

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