Changes in plasma lipids and lipoproteins associated with starting or stopping postmenopausal hormone replacement therapy. Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study

Am Heart J. 1996 Nov;132(5):952-8. doi: 10.1016/s0002-8703(96)90004-6.


The Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study investigators examined nearly 4000 postmenopausal women from 1987 through 1989 and 3 years later to determine changes in plasma lipids occurring with the starting or stopping of hormone replacement therapy. Women who started estrogen plus progestin therapy (n = 74) had decreases of 9.8 mg/dl in low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and 5.8 mg/dl in apolipoprotein B and increases of 1.2 mg/dl in high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol (HDL change not significant), 13.5 mg/dl in apolipoprotein A-I, and 14.0 mg/dl in triglycerides. Women who started estrogen alone (n = 149) had similar changes, except for a much larger increase in HDL cholesterol (5.8 mg/dl), principally in HDL-2. Women who stopped hormone therapy (n = 138) had lipid changes opposite to those who started therapy, but smaller in magnitude. These results confirm those of the Postmenopausal Estrogen/Progestin Interventions Trial in a community-based longitudinal cohort: women initiating estrogen plus progestin therapy have decreases in LDL cholesterol, but the increase in HDL cholesterol is less than that for starting estrogen alone. In addition, the current study extends findings to apolipoproteins and HDL subfractions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Apolipoproteins B / blood
  • Arteriosclerosis / blood*
  • Cholesterol, HDL / blood
  • Cholesterol, LDL / blood
  • Estrogen Replacement Therapy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lipids / blood*
  • Lipoproteins / blood*
  • Middle Aged
  • Postmenopause / physiology*
  • Prospective Studies


  • Apolipoproteins B
  • Cholesterol, HDL
  • Cholesterol, LDL
  • Lipids
  • Lipoproteins