Washington: A new research has revealed that the hormone estrogen in women plays a key role in regulating two of the most common risk factors for heart disease and stroke.
Researchers at Western University's Robarts Research Institute have identified that an estrogen receptor, previously shown to regulate blood pressure in women, also plays an important role in regulating low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels, also known as bad cholesterol, which drives the process that leads to heart disease.
Researchers showed that the G-protein coupled estrogen receptor 30 (GPER) when activated by estrogen helps lower LDL cholesterol levels in the blood by inhibiting the protein PCSK-9.
Researcher Ross Feldman said that this is a really important finding because there has always been some indication that estrogen was protective in lowering cholesterol, but they didn't understand how.
Feldman added that the mechanism of estrogen's effect was kind of a black box because they didn't know the receptors responsible for doing it.
Feldman continued that what they found is that women who have this same defective GPER, have higher LDL levels, suggesting that the second rate GPER is important not only for blood pressure, but for cholesterol levels as well.
Feldman continued that 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 is published in the journal Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology.