Relationship between sex steroids, inflammation, and platelet aggregationHormone therapy has come out as a risk factor in women for venous thrombosis, which is a blood clot forming deep inside the vein. Despite the fact that this ailment is rare, it is known to increase exponentially during menopause and is considered to be fatal.

The study was undertaken by a team of Mayo Clinic researchers, led by Virginia Miller. The team developed a novel concept that is all about using blood platelets for defining thrombotic risk. The research was discussed by Miller at a conference sponsored by the American Physiological Society (APS).

From News-Medical.Net:

The study focuses on platelets, which are cellular fragments in the blood. Platelets have a phenotype (i.e., a set of physical characteristics) that change and it is known that hormones affect platelet change. The team is examining what happens to platelets in the presence of hormones , whether platelet microvesicles occur more frequently as a result, if a change is triggered by infection, and what may account for thrombotic risk in one woman over another.

The study design takes into account the researchers, belief that three forces , an injury, a platelet effect at the injury, and the inflammation that affects the platelet and the vessel wall , are involved in the development of thrombotic risk.

The study builds on the team’s earlier findings in an animal model. They are applying the earlier results to a human population for the first time using blood taken from the women enrolled in the KEEPS trial. Depending upon the results from this group, a larger trial of 720 samples will be examined.

Depending on the results of this study, the researchers may examine the relationship of platelet activity, inflammation, and cardiovascular risk (CV) in men. It is well known that men have a higher risk factor for cardiovascular disease (CVD) than do females, and arterial clots, rather than venous clots, are a greater concern in the presence of CVD. Since men carry the female hormone estrogen as well as the male hormone testosterone, some of the findings from the female KEEPS study may shed light on these mechanisms involving men.

It was concluded by Miller that this kind of research brings the medical fraternity closer to defining the risk profiles for a certain health issue with a hope that it will lead to tools that can facilitate doctors to offer hormonal therapy for female patients in commensuration with a risk for venous thrombosis.

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