J Clin Hypertens (Greenwich). 2012;14:228–235. ©2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Vascular endothelial dysfunction is associated with increased risk for adverse cardiovascular (CV) events. However, less is known about sex differences in the endothelial function of untreated hypertensive individuals. The purpose of this study was to assess endothelial function in women and men with untreated hypertension. Ninety participants (35 women, 55 men), aged 40 to 60 years (mean age, 46.1±8.2 years), with untreated stage 1 hypertension (systolic blood pressure 140–159 mm Hg and/or diastolic blood pressure 90–99 mm Hg) underwent brachial artery endothelial-dependent flow-mediated dilation and endothelial-independent glyceryl trinitrate dilation. Women had a smaller flow-mediated dilation response than men (adjusted mean±standard error of the mean [SEM]; 1.8±0.6% vs 3.9±0.4%, P=.036), adjusting for baseline arterial diameter (P=.004), age (P=.596), ethnicity (P=.496), log shear stress ratio (P<.001), body mass index (P=.009), 24-hour diastolic blood pressure (P=.169), high-density lipoprotein (P=.225), log creatinine (P=.927), and log physical activity (P=.682). Glyceryl trinitrate dilation did not differ by sex in adjusted models. Women between the ages of 40 and 60 years with untreated stage 1 hypertension exhibited a greater impairment of endothelial function compared with their male counterparts. These findings raise the possibility that female sex may impart a greater risk of CV events in patients with untreated stage 1 hypertension potentially due to poorer endothelial function.