Nonhuman Primate Models of Menopause (Part 14)

Cardiovascular Changes Preceding and Following Menopause

This discussion of cardiovascular changes preceding and following menopause is based on presentations by Dr. K.D. Carey (Southwest Foundation for Experimental Biology) and Dr. Thomas Clarkson (Wake Forest University School of Medicine).

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of morbidity and mortality in older women. Menopause and aging increase the risk for atherosclerosis and coronary artery disease, two major components of cardiovascular disease. An altered lipid profile is thought to be associated with this increased risk. whitening gel

Baboon. The middle-aged female baboon may be an appropriate model for the effects of reproductive aging on atherogenesis in humans. The baboon menstrual cycle is similar to the human cycle, and the baboon experiences a menopausal transition similar to that of women. On an atherogenic diet, increased LDL cholesterol (relative to that on a basal diet) was observed in regularly and irregularly cycling, middle-aged females, with only regularly cycling animals showing increased HDL cholesterol, resulting in a more atherogenic LDL:HDL cholesterol ratio in irregularly cycling animals. Fatty streaks and occasional fibrous plaques were observed on the atherogenic diet, and the extent of lesions was positively correlated with the LDL:HDL cholesterol ratio. However, the lesions were not as extensive as in macaques on similar protocols. Animals with increased age and obesity, but not necessarily with irregular cycles, produced lipoprotein profiles that resemble those associated with irregular cycles.

Studies in ovariectomized female baboons have demonstrated that estrogen, either alone or in combination with progesterone, reduced plasma LDL cholesterol levels. Animals treated with estrogen plus progesterone had the least fatty streaks, whereas those treated with progesterone alone had the most.

Table 1.
Nonhuman Primate Models-1
a K.D. Carey, personal communication.
b K. Gould, personal communication (data from records kept at Yerkes Regional Primate Research Center).