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Circulation Journal
Vol. 71 (2007) No. 4 p. 565-573



Experimental Investigation

Background Takotsubo cardiomyopathy is triggered by emotional or physical stress especially in post-menopausal women. A reduction in estrogen levels following menopause might underlie the high incidence of takotsubo cardiomyopathy. Methods and Results The left ventricular contraction between ovariectomized rats (OVX) and OVX with estrogen supplementation (OVX + E) while subjected to immobilization stress (IMO) was compared. The IMO in combination with general anesthesia impaired the left ventricular contraction in both OVX and OVX + E. Estrogen supplementation tended to improve the IMO-induced cardiac dysfunction and significantly attenuated the increase of blood pressure and heart rate. To understand the protective mechanism of estrogen, the expression of c-fos mRNA, a marker of cellular activation was compared. The mRNA expression of cardioprotective substances in the heart was also investigated. In the OVX + E, the levels of c-fos mRNA were significantly decreased in the paraventricular hypothalamic nucleus, adrenal gland and left ventricle, suggesting that an increase of estrogen attenuates the emotional stress-induced hypothalamo-sympatho-adrenal outflow from the central nervous system to the target organs. An expression of heat shock protein 70 and atrial natriuretic peptide was significantly augmented in the OVX + E. Conclusions These data suggest that estrogen supplementation partially prevents emotional stress-induced cardiovascular responses both by indirect action on the nervous system and by direct action on the heart. (Circ J 2007; 71: 565 - 573)


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