Estrogen status and the renin angiotensin aldosterone system

The renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system (RAAS) is integrally involved in multiple cardiovascular physiological processes including arterial blood pressure (BP) regulation. Over activity of the RAAS has been implicated in the pathogenesis of a number of cardiovascular disease entities, including hypertension. Several lines of evidence suggest estrogen favorably modulates the RAAS. Conversely, estrogen deficiency due to menopause may contribute to over activity of the RAAS. Of importance, estrogen deficiency in women is not exclusive to the postmenopausal period. Functional hypothalamic amenorrhea is a reversible cause of premenopausal hypoestrogenemia. In contrast to postmenopausal women (PMW), premenopausal women with exercise-associated functional hypothalamic amenorrhea demonstrate decreased, not increased, resting BP compared with their estrogen-replete eumenorrheic counterpart. In this review we briefly examine the effects of estrogen status on the RAAS and present the hypothesis that the RAAS is altered in physically active women with functional hypothalamic amenorrhea.