17b-Estradiol and Progesterone Independently Augment Cutaneous Thermal Hyperemia But Not Reactive Hyperemia

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Objective: We examined the impact of estradiol and progesterone on skin LH and RH in 25 healthy women. Methods: Subjects were studied three times over 10–12 days. Endogenous sex hormones were suppressed with a GnRHa. Subjects were studied on day 4 of suppression (study day 1), three to four days later following treatment with either 17b-estradiol or progesterone (study day 2), and another three to four days later, following treatment with both estradiol and progesterone (study day 3 ). Subjects underwent identical LH and RH protocols on all study days. LH is characterized by an initial peak in blood flow, followed by a prolonged plateau. A brief nadir is seen between the phases. Results: Blood flow values are expressed as percent maximum CVC. Estradiol alone increased initial peak CVC from 71 ± 2% to 79 ± 2% (p = 0.001). Progesterone alone increased initial peak CVC from 72 ± 2% to 78 ± 2% (p = 0.046). Neither estradiol nor progesterone increased plateau CVC. No significant changes were seen between study days 2 and 3 for either group. No differences were observed in RH. Conclusions: Both estradiol and progesterone increased initial peak CVC during LH, without altering plateau CVC. There was no additive effect of estradiol and progesterone. Key words: hormones, estrogen, skin temperature, vasodilation, laser-Doppler flowmetry Abbreviations used: GnRHa, gonadotropin-releasing hormone antagonist; E2 ,17b-estradiol; P4, progesterone; CVC, cutaneous vascular conductance; %CVCmax, percent maximal cutaneous vascular conductance; NO, nitric oxide; EDHFs, endothelial- derived h yperpo larizing fac tors; BKCa 2+, large-conductance calcium- activated potassium; LH, local heating; RH, reactive hyperemia; ECG, electrocardiogram; RBC, red blood cell; MAP, mean arterial pressure; AUC, area under the curve; L-NAME, L-NG-nitroarginine methyl ester; CGRP, calcitonin gene-related peptide; eNOS, endothelial nitric oxide synthase; NOS, nitric oxide synthase; L-NMMA, L-NG-monomethyl arginine; COX, cyclooxygenase; FMD, flow-mediated dilation.

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