Objective: To investigate the adjustment of estrogen, progesterone and testosterone on the proliferation of female and male rat vascular endothelial cells (VECs) separately. Methods: Rat lung VECs were cultured according to the block explanting method. MTT assay was used to measure the proliferation of VECs. Results: 17β-Estradiol (E2) at 3 × 10–8 and 3 × 10–7 M accelerated the proliferation of female rat VECs (p < 0.01). E2 at 3 × 10–9, 3 × 10–8 and 3 × 10–7 M accelerated the proliferation of male rat VECs (p < 0.05). Tamoxifen, the estrogen receptor antagonist, could block the effect of estrogen on the proliferation of VECs. Testosterone at 3 × 10–8 and 3 × 10–7 M significantly increased the proliferation of male rat VECs (p < 0.05), but had no effect on female rat VECs. Progesterone at 10–9 and 10–8 M had no effect on female rat VECs alone. When the ratio of E2 to progesterone was 3/10, the proliferation of female rat VECs was accelerated (p < 0.05). When the ratio of E2 to testosterone was 1/1, the proliferation of female rat VECs was also hastened (p < 0.05). However, when the ratio was reduced to 1/100, the hastening effect disappeared. Conclusion: Estrogen can speed up the proliferation of female and male rat VECs, while progesterone has no effect on female rat VECs alone. The balance of the ratio of E2 to testosterone, E2 to progesterone may play an important role in the proliferation of female rat VECs.

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