The effect of transdermal gender-affirming hormone therapy on markers of inflammation and hemostasis

Moya H. Schutte, Robert Kleemann, Nienke M. Nota, Chantal M. Wiepjes, Jessica M. Snabel, Guy t'Sjoen, Abel Thijs, Martin Den Heijer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Background Cardiovascular risk is increased in transgender persons using gender-affirming hormone therapy. To gain insight into the mechanism by which sex hormones affect cardiovascular risk in transgender persons, we investigated the effect of hormone therapy on markers of inflammation and hemostasis. Methods In this exploratory study, 48 trans women using estradiol patches plus cyproterone acetate (CPA) and 47 trans men using testosterone gel were included. They were between 18 and 50 years old and did not have a history of cardiovascular events. Measurements were performed before and after 3 and 12 months of hormone therapy. Results After 12 months, in trans women, systemic and endothelial inflammatory markers decreased (hs-CRP -66%, (95% CI -76; -53), VCAM-1-12%, (95% CI -16; -8)), while platelet activation markers increased (PF-4 +17%, (95% CI 4; 32), β-thromboglobulin +13%, (95% CI 2; 24)). The coagulation marker fibrinogen increased transiently, after 3 months (+15%, (95% CI 1; 32)). In trans men, hs-CRP increased (+71%, (95% CI 19; 145)); platelet activation and coagulation markers were not altered. In both trans women and trans men, leptin and adiponectin changed towards reference values of the experienced gender. Conclusions Platelet activation and coagulation marker concentrations increased in trans women using transdermal estradiol plus CPA, but not in trans men using testosterone. Also, concentrations of inflammatory markers decreased in trans women, while hs-CRP increased in trans men. Our results indicate that hormone therapy may affect hemostasis in transgender persons, which could be an underlying mechanism explaining the increased cardiovascular risk in this population.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0261312
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number3 March
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2022

Cite this