Comparative vascular effects of hormone replacement therapy and raloxifene in women at increased cardiovascular risk

E. Cerquetani, C. Vitale, G. Mercuro, M. Fini, S. Zoncu, G. M C Rosano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) improves endothelial function in postmenopausal women while the effects of raloxifene, a selective estrogen receptor modulator, are still under debate. The aim of this study was to evaluate endothelium-dependent flow-mediated vasodilatation in the brachial artery and plasma levels of nitrite, nitrate and endothelin-1 in 20 postmenopausal women with increased cardiovascular risk treated with either HRT or raloxifene for 4 weeks in a randomized double-blind single cross-over study. Patients had an endothelium-dependent flow-mediated dilatation of 4% prior to initiation of the study. Treatment with HRT resulted in a 67% increase in dilatation compared with baseline (from a 7.4% increase to a 12.4% increase, p <0.01). Raloxifene treatment resulted in no change in vasodilatation from baseline. Endothelium-dependent dilatation was significantly improved by HRT compared with raloxifene treatment (12.4 ± 0.6% vs. 6.1 ± 2.0%; p <0.01). Compared with baseline values, nitrate plus nitrite levels increased significantly (p <0.05) with HRT but not with raloxifene. Similarly, endothelin-1 decreased from baseline with both treatments, but only the HRT-induced decrease was statistically significant (p <0.05). In conclusion, HRT improved endothelial function and reduced plasma levels of endothelin-1 in postmenopausal women at risk of coronary artery disease. These beneficial effects were not shared by raloxifene.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)291-298
Number of pages8
JournalGynecological Endocrinology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2004



  • Cardiovascular Risk
  • HRT
  • Raloxifene
  • Vascular Effects

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology
  • Obstetrics and Gynaecology

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