Acute ascorbic acid infusion increases left ventricular diastolic function in postmenopausal women

Maturitas. 2016 Oct:92:154-161. doi: 10.1016/j.maturitas.2016.08.007. Epub 2016 Aug 12.


Objectives: We tested the hypothesis that oxidative stress contributes to reductions in left ventricular diastolic (LV) function in estrogen-deficient postmenopausal women, related in part to reduced nitric oxide (NO) bioavailability.

Study design: LV diastolic function - recorded using transthoracic echocardiography and determined as the peak early (E) to late (A) mitral inflow velocity ratio and the E to peak early (e') mitral annular velocity ratio - and brachial artery flow mediated dilation (FMD), a biomarker of NO bioavailability, were measured during acute systemic infusions of saline (control) and ascorbic acid (experimental model to decrease oxidative stress) in healthy premenopausal women (N=14, 18-40 years) and postmenopausal women (N=23, 45-75 years).

Results: The E/A ratio was lower (1.16[1.06-1.33] vs 1.65[1.5-2.3]; median[interquartile range]) and the E/e' ratio was elevated (8.8[7.6-9.9] vs. 6.6[5.5-7.3]) in postmenopausal compared with premenopausal women, indicating reduced LV diastolic function. E/A and E/e' were correlated with FMD (r=0.54 and r=-0.59, respectively, both P<0.01). Ascorbic acid infusion improved both FMD (5.4±2.0% to 7.8±2.6%) and E/e' (to 8.1[7.2-9.7], P=0.01) in postmenopausal women but not in premenopausal women. Ascorbic acid did not change E/A in either group.

Conclusion: The current study provides evidence that oxidative stress contributes to reduced LV diastolic function in estrogen-deficient postmenopausal women, possibly by reducing the availability of NO.

Keywords: Diastolic function; Oxidative stress; Postmenopausal women.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Antioxidants / pharmacology*
  • Ascorbic Acid / administration & dosage
  • Ascorbic Acid / pharmacology*
  • Brachial Artery / drug effects
  • Diastole / drug effects
  • Echocardiography
  • Female
  • Heart Ventricles / diagnostic imaging
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mitral Valve
  • Oxidative Stress / drug effects*
  • Oxidative Stress / physiology
  • Postmenopause / physiology*
  • Premenopause / physiology
  • Vasodilation / drug effects
  • Ventricular Function, Left / drug effects*
  • Young Adult


  • Antioxidants
  • Ascorbic Acid