Seven days of statin treatment improves nitric-oxide mediated endothelial-dependent cutaneous microvascular function in women with endometriosis

Gabrielle A. Dillon, Anna E. Stanhewicz, Corinna Serviente, Valerie A. Flores, Nina Stachenfeld, Lacy M. Alexander

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7 Scopus citations


Introduction: Endometriosis is associated with systemic inflammation and increased risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD). Endothelial dysfunction is one of the first manifestations of CVD but is unexplored in women with endometriosis. HMG-CoA-reductase inhibitors (statins) exert potent anti-inflammatory effects, and have been proposed as an adjunctive therapy in women with endometriosis. We hypothesized that microvascular endothelial function would be impaired in otherwise healthy women with endometriosis mediated by reduced nitric oxide (NO)-dependent dilation and that short term statin administration would improve endothelial function. Methods: In 8 healthy control (HC: 33 ± 9 yr) and 8 women with endometriosis (EN: 34 ± 9 yr), laser-Doppler flux (LDF) was measured continuously during graded intradermal microdialysis perfusion of the endothelium-dependent agonist acetylcholine (Ach: 10−10-10−1 M) alone and in combination with the NO synthase inhibitor (L-NAME: 0.015 M). 6 EN repeated the microdialysis experiment following 7 days of oral atorvastatin treatment (10 mg). Cutaneous vascular conductance was calculated (CVC = LDF*mmHg−1) and normalized to site-specific maximum (28 mM sodium nitroprusside, 43 °C). The NO-dependent dilation was calculated as the difference between the areas under the dose response curves. Results: Ach-induced vasodilation was blunted in women with endometriosis (main effect p < 0.01), indicating impaired endothelial function. NO-dependent vasodilation was also reduced in women with endometriosis (HC: 217 ± 120.3 AUC vs. EN: 88 ± 97 AUC, p = 0.03). Oral atorvastatin improved Ach-induced (main effect p < 0.01) and NO-dependent (295 ± 153 AUC; p = 0.05) vasodilation in women with endometriosis. Conclusion: Microcirculatory endothelium-dependent vasodilation is impaired in women with endometriosis, mediated in part by reductions in NO. Short-term oral atorvastatin improved endothelium-dependent vasodilation, suggesting that statin therapy may be a viable intervention strategy to mitigate accelerated CVD risk in women with endometriosis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number104421
JournalMicrovascular Research
StatePublished - Nov 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Cell Biology


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