Gender differences in the effect of aspirin on retinal ischemia, prostanoid synthesis and nitric oxide production in experimental type 1-like diabetes

Vascul Pharmacol. 2007 Aug-Sep;47(2-3):83-9. doi: 10.1016/j.vph.2006.11.007. Epub 2007 May 18.


Background: The protective effect of acetylsalicylic acid (aspirin) against cardiovascular events is known to be weaker in women than in men. The present study was designed to test whether this effect of aspirin differed between sexes in an experimental model of diabetes with retinal ischemia.

Methods: We compared nondiabetic rats and rats after 1, 2 and 3 months of diabetes that were given 2 mg/kg/day p.o. of aspirin from the first day of diabetes. The variables recorded were platelet aggregation, production of thromboxane B(2) (TxB(2)), 6-keto-prostaglandin F(1alpha) and aortic nitric oxide, and the percentage of the retinal surface occupied by horseradish peroxidase (HRP)-permeable vessels.

Results: In female rats made diabetic, TxB(2) synthesis was more markedly reduced, and the percentage of HRP-permeable retinal vessels was less markedly reduced, than in their male counterparts. The response to aspirin treatment was weaker in female than in male diabetic rats in terms of inhibition of TxB(2) synthesis, increased nitric oxide production, and prevention of the increase in the percentage of retinal surface covered by HRP-permeable vessels.

Conclusion: Aspirin was less effective in preventing retinal ischemia in experimental diabetes in female than in male rats.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Aspirin / pharmacology*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Experimental / complications
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Experimental / drug therapy*
  • Diabetic Retinopathy / prevention & control
  • Female
  • Ischemia / drug therapy*
  • Male
  • Nitric Oxide / biosynthesis
  • Platelet Aggregation / drug effects
  • Platelet Aggregation Inhibitors / pharmacology*
  • Prostaglandins / biosynthesis
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Retinal Vessels / drug effects*
  • Sex Factors
  • Streptozocin
  • Thromboxane B2 / biosynthesis


  • Platelet Aggregation Inhibitors
  • Prostaglandins
  • Nitric Oxide
  • Thromboxane B2
  • Streptozocin
  • Aspirin