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Grant Abstract

Grant Number: 5U01AT001653-03
Project Title: Phytoestrogens and Progression of Atherosclerosis

Abstract: DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): The fear and discontent with traditional hormone replacement therapy (HRT) coupled with the interest in natural products has resulted in an increased use of soy protein as a postmenopausal therapeutic alternative by both women and their physicians alike. Evidence from epidemiological and non-human primate studies indicate that isoflavone-rich soy protein has antiatherogenic activity, evidence supported by a large body of data that indicate mechanistic and biologic plausibility. No studies to our knowledge have been published or proposed to determine the long-term effects of soy protein on the progression of atherosclerosis in postmenopausal women. We propose to conduct a 2.5-year, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of isoflavone-rich soy protein in 300 healthy postmenopausal women without clinical evidence of cardiovascular disease. We hypothesize that relative to placebo, isoflavone-rich soy protein (supplying genistein, daidzein and glycitein) will reduce the progression of subclinical atherosclerosis in healthy postmenopausal women. The primary end point will be the progression of subclinical atherosclerosis measured as the rate of change in common carotid artery intima-media thickness in computer image processed B-mode ultrasonograms, a well-established noninvasive arterial imaging end point for antiatherosclerosis trials, lsoflavone-rich soy protein may provide a safe and effective alternative approach for extending premenopausal cardioprotection afforded by endogenous estrogen into menopause without the increased risk of thromboembolic events and certain cancers associated with traditional HRT. Since many postmenopausal women are using soy products to maintain their health, it is important to understand whether soy protein has an antiatherogenic effect so that women can make a truly informed decision concerning their expectations of this form of postmenopausal therapy. The question as to whether soy protein is effective in reducing the progression of atherosclerosis in postmenopausal women is not only timely, but also of immense medical and financial importance since atherosclerosis remains the number I killer of postmenopausal women.

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