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Atherosclerosis and Gender-Related Differences

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Abstract

Coronary artery disease (CAD) remains the leading cause of mortality and morbidity world wide. Despite significant advances in our understanding of the atherogenesis, gender related differences in CAD remain unclear. It is generally assumed that the estrogens play a protective role in women in the premenopausal age group; however, hormone replacement therapy in postmenopausal women has not led to a significant decrease in cardiovascular events. Nonetheless, subtle differences at cellular level and in the plaque morphology have been identified in women as compared with men. Recent studies have shown a different pattern of atherosclerotic changes in the distribution of vessels, morphology of lesions and microvasculature between men and women. New markers of atherosclerosis such as G protein coupled estrogen receptors, Toll-like receptors and lipoprotein(a) also exhibit different patterns in men and women. Other studies have shown that women as compared to men have poorer prognosis after STEMI and CABG. An improved understanding the gender related pathophysiology will help in improved management of CAD in women.

Keywords

  • Atherosclerosis
  • Estrogens
  • Androgens
  • Plaque morphology

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Fig. 1.1

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Mathur, P., Ding, Z., Wang, X., Bavineni, M., Kattoor, A.J., Mehta, J.L. (2018). Atherosclerosis and Gender-Related Differences. In: Mehta, J., McSweeney, J. (eds) Gender Differences in the Pathogenesis and Management of Heart Disease. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-71135-5_1

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