OBJECTIVE: To examine the effects of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) on lipid metabolism, glycemic control, total body and central abdominal fat, blood pressure (BP), and arterial pulse wave velocity (APWV) in overweight postmenopausal females with type 2 diabetes. RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS: This was a 12-month prospective study of 14 subjects (mean +/- SD age 57.5+/-5.6 years, BMI 29.5+/-4.8 kg/m2) randomized to 6 months of observation or HRT before crossover. HRT consisted of 2 months of conjugated equine estrogen (CEE) 0.625 mg daily, followed by 4 months CEE and medroxyprogesterone 5 mg daily. Measures included anthropometry, fasting glucose, insulin, HbA1c, total and HDL cholesterol, triglycerides, apolipoprotein B, LDL particle size, nonesterified fatty acids (NEFA), sex hormone-binding globulin, resting energy expenditure (REE), total and central abdominal fat (by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry), resting BP, APWV (by applanation tonometry), physical activity, well-being, and sexual function. RESULTS: Six months of HRT resulted in significant reductions in waist-to-hip ratio (-0.03+/-0.01 vs. 0.01+/-0.009, P = 0.007), HbA1c (-0.34+/-0.24 vs. 0.6+/-0.4%, P = 0.04), total cholesterol (-0.6+/-0.1 vs. 0.2+/-0.2 mmol/l, P = 0.001), central abdominal fat (-175+/-51 vs. -24+/-56 g, P = 0.05), and improved physical functioning (P = 0.05), compared with observation. There was a minor increase in REE with HRT (33+/-23 vs. -38+/-23 kJ/day, P = 0.04). Total fat mass, fasting glucose, insulin, triglyceride, apolipoprotein B, NEFA, resting BP, APWV, and physical activity were unchanged. CONCLUSIONS: Postmenopausal HRT in these overweight women with type 2 diabetes was associated with a reduction in central adiposity and improvement in lipid metabolism and glycemic control without deterioration in weight status or cardiovascular parameters measured. Whether HRT-induced improvements in these cardiovascular risk factors result in lower long-term cardiovascular morbidity and mortality, as observed in nondiabetic women, awaits further study.

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