Cholesterol-lowering medication, cholesterol level, and reproductive hormones in women: the Women's Ischemia Syndrome Evaluation (WISE)

Am J Med. 2002 Dec 15;113(9):723-7. doi: 10.1016/s0002-9343(02)01366-9.


Purpose: Reproductive hormones such as estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone are synthesized from a common cholesterol precursor pathway. We hypothesized that use of statins and the resultant lower blood lipoprotein levels would be associated with lower reproductive hormone levels in women. We also sought to evaluate this association, independent of statin use, particularly among premenopausal women of childbearing age.

Methods: We enrolled 453 (114 pre-, 30 peri-, and 309 postmenopausal) women with coronary risk factors (mean [+/- SD] age, 58 +/- 13 years) who were undergoing coronary angiography for suspected ischemia at four academic medical centers. Blood lipoprotein levels (total cholesterol, triglycerides, low-density lipoprotein [LDL] cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol) and serum reproductive hormone levels (estradiol, bioavailable estradiol, estrone, progesterone) were measured.

Results: Use of statins was associated with lower lipoprotein levels, but not lower reproductive hormone levels, in all women. Mean estradiol levels were not significantly lower among premenopausal women with very low LDL cholesterol levels compared with women with higher LDL cholesterol levels (estradiol: 71 +/- 52 pg/mL vs. 88 +/- 67 pg/mL, P = 0.32).

Conclusion: Among women undergoing coronary angiography for suspected myocardial ischemia, the use of statins, or lower cholesterol levels, are not associated with significantly lower levels of reproductive hormones.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Algorithms
  • Anticholesteremic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Cholesterol / blood*
  • Climacteric
  • Coronary Angiography
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Estradiol / blood*
  • Estrone / blood*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • Lipoproteins / blood
  • Middle Aged
  • Myocardial Ischemia / blood
  • Myocardial Ischemia / diagnosis*
  • Myocardial Ischemia / diagnostic imaging
  • Postmenopause
  • Premenopause
  • Progesterone / blood*
  • Risk Factors


  • Anticholesteremic Agents
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors
  • Lipoproteins
  • Estrone
  • Progesterone
  • Estradiol
  • Cholesterol