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Follicle-stimulating hormone, but not cardiorespiratory fitness, is associated with flow-mediated dilation with advancing menopausal stage

Serviente, Corinna, PhD1,2; Witkowski, Sarah, PhD1,3

doi: 10.1097/GME.0000000000001267
Original Articles

Objective: The aim of the study was to evaluate if there are differences in endothelial function before and after acute exercise in women at different menopausal stages with high and low cardiorespiratory fitness.

Methods: Participants were healthy high-fit premenopausal (n = 11), perimenopausal (n = 12), and postmenopausal women (n = 13) and low-fit perimenopausal (n = 7) and postmenopausal women (n = 8). Brachial artery flow-mediated dilation (FMD) was measured before and after acute moderate intensity exercise. FMD was calculated as (Diameterpeak−Diameterbaseline)/ Diameterbaseline) × 100. Differences between high-fit women and between high- and low-fit perimenopausal and postmenopausal women were assessed with repeated-measure ANOVAs. Relations with FMD were assessed with Pearson correlations.

Results: FMD was reduced with progressive menopausal stage in high-fit women (P = 0.005) and was lower in perimenopausal compared to postmenopausal women (P = 0.047). FMD was lower in high-fit compared to low-fit women (P = 0.006) and there was no relation between FMD and VO2peak (P > 0.05). There was an inverse relation between FMD and follicle-stimulating hormone (P < 0.05), but not estradiol (P > 0.05).

Conclusions: These data suggest that endothelial function is lower with progressive menopausal stage in women with high cardiorespiratory fitness; that FMD is lower in women with higher cardiorespiratory fitness; and that FSH, but not estradiol, is associated with FMD.

1Department of Kinesiology, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Amherst, MA

2Center for Healthy Aging, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA

3Department of Exercise and Sports Studies, Smith College, Northampton, MA.

Address correspondence to: Corinna Serviente, PhD, 226 Noll Lab, University Park, PA 16802. E-mail:

Received 4 September, 2018

Revised 15 October, 2018

Accepted 15 October, 2018

Funding/support: American College of Sports Medicine Foundation Doctoral Student Research Grant (Serviente), University of Massachusetts Amherst Faculty Research Grant (Witkowski), and National Institute on Aging Grant T32 AG049676 to The Pennsylvania State University.

Financial disclosure/conflicts of interest: None reported.

This manuscript was submitted in partial fulfillment of a dissertation at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and was submitted to an online institutional repository.

© 2019 by The North American Menopause Society.