Alterations in the estrogen receptor profile of cardiovascular tissues during aging

Rakesh Gurrala, Isabella M. Kilanowski-Doroh, Dillion D. Hutson, Benard O. Ogola, Margaret A. Zimmerman, Prasad V.G. Katakam, Ryousuke Satou, Ricardo Mostany, Sarah H. Lindsey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Estrogen exerts protective effects on the cardiovascular system via three known estrogen receptors: alpha (ERα), beta (ERß), and the G protein-coupled estrogen receptor (GPER). Our laboratory has previously showed the importance of GPER in the beneficial cardiovascular effects of estrogen. Since clinical studies indicate that the protective effects of exogenous estrogen on cardiovascular function are attenuated or reversed 10 years post-menopause, the hypothesis was that GPER expression may be reduced during aging. Vascular reactivity and GPER protein expression were assessed in female mice of varying ages. Physiological parameters, blood pressure, and estrogen receptor transcripts via droplet digital PCR (ddPCR) were assessed in the heart, kidney, and aorta of adult, middle-aged, and aged male and female C57BL/6 mice. Vasodilation to estrogen (E2) and the GPER agonist G-1 were reduced in aging female mice and were accompanied by downregulation of GPER protein. However, ERα and GPER were the predominant receptors in all tissues, whereas ERß was detectable only in the kidney. Female sex was associated with higher mRNA for both ERα and GPER in both the aorta and the heart. Aging impacted receptor transcript in a tissue-dependent manner. ERα transcript decreased in the heart with aging, while GPER expression increased in the heart. These data indicate that aging impacts estrogen receptor expression in the cardiovascular system in a tissue- and sex-specific manner. Understanding the impact of aging on estrogen receptor expression is critical for developing selective hormone therapies that protect from cardiovascular damage.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)433-442
Number of pages10
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Aging
  • Aromatase
  • Cardiovascular
  • Droplet digital PCR (ddPCR)
  • Estrogen receptors
  • Sex differences

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aging
  • veterinary (miscalleneous)
  • Complementary and alternative medicine
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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