Evidence of reduced peripheral microvascular function in young Black women across the menstrual cycle

Black women (BLW) have a higher prevalence of cardiovascular disease (CVD) morbidity and mortality compared with White women (WHW). A racial disparity in CVD risk has been identified early in life as young adult BLW demonstrate attenuated vascular function compared with WHW. Previous studies comparing vascular function between premenopausal WHW and BLW have been limited to the early follicular (EF) phase of the menstrual cycle, which may not reflect their vascular function during other menstrual phases. Therefore, we evaluated peripheral microvascular function in premenopausal WHW and BLW using passive leg movement (PLM) during three menstrual phases: EF, ovulation (OV), and mid-luteal (ML). We hypothesized that microvascular function would be augmented during the OV and ML phases compared with the EF phase in both groups, but would be attenuated in BLW compared with WHW at all three phases. PLM was performed on 26 apparently healthy premenopausal women not using hormonal contraceptives: 15 WHW (23 ± 3 yr), 11 BLW (24 ± 5 yr). There was a main effect of race on the overall change in leg blood flow (ΔLBF) (P = 0.01) and leg blood flow area under the curve (LBF AUC) (P = 0.02), such that LBF was lower in BLW. However, there was no effect of phase on ΔLBF (P = 0.69) or LBF AUC (P = 0.65), nor an interaction between race and phase on ΔLBF (P = 0.37) or LBF AUC (P = 0.75). Despite peripheral microvascular function being unchanged across the menstrual cycle, a racial disparity was apparent as microvascular function was attenuated in BLW compared with WHW across the menstrual cycle. NEW & NOTEWORTHY: This is the first study to compare peripheral microvascular function between young, otherwise healthy Black women and White women at multiple phases of the menstrual cycle. Our novel findings demonstrate a significant effect of race on peripheral microvascular function such that Black women exhibit significant attenuations in microvascular function across the menstrual cycle compared with White women.
This article was originally published in Journal of Applied Physiology. The version of record is available at: https://doi.org/10.1152/japplphysiol.00452.2021. This article will be embargoed until 12/01/2022.
racial disparity, premenopausal women, vascular function, passive leg movement
D’Agata, Michele N., Elissa K. Hoopes, Felicia R. Berube, Alexandra E. Hirt, Andrew V. Kuczmarski, Sushant M. Ranadive, Megan M. Wenner, and Melissa A. Witman. “Evidence of Reduced Peripheral Microvascular Function in Young Black Women across the Menstrual Cycle.” Journal of Applied Physiology 131, no. 6 (December 1, 2021): 1783–91. https://doi.org/10.1152/japplphysiol.00452.2021.