Background: Premenopausal women have much lower susceptibility to coronary artery disease than do men or postmenopausal women. It has been proposed that estrogen plays a role in cardioprotection, but little information is available regarding the mechanism by which estrogen may help to protect the vasculature. Here, we describe an estrogen receptor (ER) in human coronary artery and umbilical vein endothelial cells. Methods and Results: Human umbilical vein endothelial cells and human coronary artery endothelia cells were cultured in hormone-free medium for 48 hours before experiments. Estradiol (3.7 nmol/L) added to cultures promoted proliferation by a mechanism that is inhibited by the specific ER antagonist ICI182,780. Estradiol-treated cells incorporated twice the [3H]thymidine of hormone- free cells; this increase was prevented by ICI182,780. Endothelial cells from both sources stained in a nuclear pattern with an ER-specific antibody. Ribonuclease protection assay detected mRNA for the ER. Ligand-building studies estimated 2 x 104 to 8 x 104 receptors per cell and a K(d) of ≃5 nmol/L. Interaction of ERs with a consensus estrogen response element was shown by an electrophoretic mobility shift assay. In addition, an antibody against the ER supershifted the protein-DNA complex. Conclusions: These studies define the presence of an ER in human coronary artery and umbilical vein endothelial cells. They support the hypothesis that cardioprotective effects of estrogen are mediated, at least in part, through a classic steroid hormone receptor mechanism.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
- Physiology (medical)