Plasma growth hormone (GH) profiles regulate the sexually dimorphic expression of cytochromes P450 and many other genes in rat and mouse liver, however, the proximal transcriptional regulators of these genes are unknown. Presently, we characterize three liver transcription factors that are expressed in adult female rat and mouse liver at levels up to 16-fold (Tox), 73-fold (Trim24/TIF1α), and 125-fold (Cutl2/Cux2) higher than in adult males, depending on the strain and species, with Tox expression only detected in mice. In rats, these sex differences first emerged at puberty, when the high prepubertal expression of Cutl2 and Trim24 was extinguished in males but was further increased in females. Rat hepatic expression of Cutl2 and Trim24 was abolished by hypophysectomy and, in the case of Cutl2, was restored to near-female levels by continuous GH replacement. Cutl2 and Trim24 were increased to female-like levels in livers of intact male rats and mice treated with GH continuously (female GH pattern), while Tox expression reached only about 40% of adult female levels. Expression of all three genes was also elevated to normal female levels or higher in male mice whose plasma GH profile was feminized secondary to somatostatin gene disruption. Cutl2 and Trim24 both responded to GH infusion in mice within 10–24 h and Tox within 4 d, as compared to at least 4–7 d required for the induced expression of several continuous GH-regulated cytochromes P450 and other female-specific hepatic genes. Cutl2, Trim24 and Tox were substantially up-regulated in livers of male mice deficient in either of two transcription factors implicated in GH regulation of liver sex specificity, namely, signal transducer and activator of transcription 5b (STAT5b) and hepatocyte nuclear factor 4α (HNF4α), with sex-specific expression being substantially reduced or lost in mice deficient in either nuclear factor. Cutl2 and Trim24 both display transcriptional repressor activity and could thus contribute to the loss of GH-regulated, male-specific liver gene expression seen in male mice deficient in STAT5b or HNF4α. Binding sites for Cutl1, whose DNA-binding specificity is very close to that of Cutl2, were statistically over-represented in STAT5b-dependent male-specific mouse genes, lending support to this hypothesis.
growth hormone; STAT5b; HNF4α; liver gene expression; sex-specificity
Introduction. Sexual dimorphism with an increased prevalence in women has long been observed in various autoimmune, allergic, and skin diseases. Recent research has attempted to correlate this female predilection to physiologic changes seen in the menstrual cycle in order to more effectively diagnose and treat these diseases. Cases. We present five cases of cutaneous diseases in women with annular morphology and distributive features that favor one side over the other. In all cases, skin disease improved with ovarian suppression. Conclusion. Sexual dimorphism in the innate and adaptive immune systems has long been observed, with females demonstrating a more vigorous immune response compared to males. Female sex hormones promote T and B lymphocyte autoreactivity and favor the humoral arm of adaptive immunity. In addition to ovarian steroidogenesis and immunity, intricate pathways coexist in order to engage a single oocyte in each cycle, while simultaneously sustaining the ovarian reserve. Vigorous proinflammatory, vasoactive, and pigment-related cytokines emerge during the demise of the corpus luteum, influencing peripherical sex hormone metabolism of the level of the macrophage and fibroblast. We propose that annular and lateralizing lesions are important manifestations of hormone-related inflammation and recognition of this linkage can lead to improved immune and reproductive health.
Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is sexually dimorphic in both rodents and humans, with significantly higher incidence in males, an effect that is dependent on sex hormones. The molecular mechanisms by which estrogens prevent and androgens promote liver cancer remain unclear. Here, we discover that sexually dimorphic HCC is completely reversed in Foxa1- and Foxa2-deficient mice after diethylnitrosamine-induced hepatocarcinogenesis. Coregulation of target genes by Foxa1/a2 and either the estrogen receptor (ERα) or the androgen receptor (AR) was increased during hepatocarcinogenesis in normal female or male mice, respectively, but was lost in Foxa1/2-deficient mice. Thus, both estrogen-dependent resistance to and androgen-mediated facilitation of HCC depend on Foxa1/2. Strikingly, single nucleotide polymorphisms at FOXA2 binding sites reduce binding of both FOXA2 and ERα to their targets in human liver and correlate with HCC development in women. Thus, Foxa factors and their targets are central for the sexual dimorphism of HCC.
Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is sexually dimorphic in both rodents and humans, with significantly higher incidence in males, an effect that is dependent on sex hormones. The molecular mechanisms by which estrogens prevent and androgens promote liver cancer remain unclear. Here, we discover that sexually-dimorphic HCC is completely reversed in Foxa1- and Foxa2-deficient mice after diethylnitrosamine-induced hepatocarcinogenesis. Co-regulation of target genes by Foxa1/a2 and either the estrogen receptor (ERα) or the androgen receptor (AR) was increased during hepatocarcinogenesis in normal female or male mice, respectively, but was lost in Foxa1/2-deficient mice. Thus, both estrogen-dependent resistance to and androgen-mediated facilitation of HCC depend on Foxa1/2. Strikingly, single nucleotide polymorphisms at FOXA2 binding sites reduce binding of both FOXA2 and ERα to their targets in human liver, and correlate with HCC development in women. Thus, Foxa factors and their targets are central for the sexual dimorphism of HCC.
A paucity of information on biological sex-specific differences in cardiac gene expression in response to diet has prompted this present nutrigenomics investigation.
Sexual dimorphism exists in the physiological and transcriptional response to diet, particularly in response to high-fat feeding. Consumption of Trans-fatty acids (TFA) has been linked to substantially increased risk of heart disease, in which sexual dimorphism is apparent, with males suffering a higher disease rate. Impairment of the cardiovascular system has been noted in animals exposed to Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) during the neonatal period, and sexual dimorphism in the growth axis of MSG-treated animals has previously been noted. Processed foods may contain both TFA and MSG.
We examined physiological differences and changes in gene expression in response to TFA and/or MSG consumption compared to a control diet, in male and female C57BL/6J mice.
Heart and % body weight increases were greater in TFA-fed mice, who also exhibited dyslipidemia (P < 0.05). Hearts from MSG-fed females weighed less than males (P < 0.05). 2-factor ANOVA indicated that the TFA diet induced over twice as many cardiac differentially expressed genes (DEGs) in males compared to females (P < 0.001); and 4 times as many male DEGs were downregulated including Gata4, Mef2d and Srebf2. Enrichment of functional Gene Ontology (GO) categories were related to transcription, phosphorylation and anatomic structure (P < 0.01). A number of genes were upregulated in males and downregulated in females, including pro-apoptotic histone deacetylase-2 (HDAC2). Sexual dimorphism was also observed in cardiac transcription from MSG-fed animals, with both sexes upregulating approximately 100 DEGs exhibiting sex-specific differences in GO categories. A comparison of cardiac gene expression between all diet combinations together identified a subset of 111 DEGs significant only in males, 64 DEGs significant in females only, and 74 transcripts identified as differentially expressed in response to dietary manipulation in both sexes.
Our model identified major changes in the cardiac transcriptional profile of TFA and/or MSG-fed mice compared to controls, which was reflected by significant differences in the physiological profile within the 4 diet groups. Identification of sexual dimorphism in cardiac transcription may provide the basis for sex-specific medicine in the future.
Multiple sclerosis is a sexually dimorphic, demyelinating disease of the central nervous system, and experimental allergic encephalomyelitis (EAE) is its principal autoimmune model. Young male SJL/J mice are relatively resistant to EAE while older males and SJL/J females of any age are susceptible. By comparing a wide age range of PLP139–151-immunized mice, we found female disease severity remains constant with age. In contrast, EAE disease severity increases with age in SJL/J males, with young males having significantly less severe disease and older males having significantly more disease than equivalently aged females. To determine if the Y-chromosome contributes to this sexual dimorphism, EAE was induced in consomic SJL/J mice carrying a B10.S Y-chromosome (SJL.YB10.S). EAE was significantly more severe in young, male SJL.YB10.S mice compared to young, male SJL/J mice. These studies show that Y-chromosome-linked polymorphism controls the age-dependent EAE sexual dimorphism observed in SJL/J mice.
Autoimmunity; EAE/MS; Neuroimmunology; sex chromosomes
Though stress causes complex sleep disruptions that are different in females and males, little is known about how sex influences the ability of stress to alter sleep. To date there have been no comprehensive examinations of whether effects of stress on sleep are sensitive to determinants of sex, such as reproductive hormones. Since restraint stress produces a sexually dimorphic increase in rapid eye movement sleep (REMS) amount in mice that is greater in males than females, in the current study we sought to determine whether estrogens and androgens influence the ability of restraint stress to alter sleep states. We removed the gonads from adult female and male C57BL/6J mice and implanted the mice with recording electrodes to monitor sleep-wake states. Gonadectomized females and males exhibited similar amounts of REMS in response to restraint stress. Mice were then implanted with continuous release hormone pellets. Females received 17β-estradiol and males received testosterone. Hormone replacement (HR) in females decreased the REMS response to restraint stress while HR in males increased the REMS response to restraint stress. The combined effects of HR in females and males restored the sex difference in the ability of restraint stress to alter REMS. These results demonstrate that sex differences in the effects of stress on REMS are dependent on reproductive hormones and support the view that endogenous or exogenous changes in the reproductive hormone environment influence sleep responses to stress.
gender; sex; restraint; estrogen; androgen
Men are at an increased risk of dying from heart failure caused by inflammatory heart diseases such as atherosclerosis, myocarditis and dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM). We previously showed that macrophages in the spleen are phenotypically distinct in male compared to female mice at 12 h after infection. This innate immune profile mirrors and predicts the cardiac immune response during acute myocarditis.
In order to study sex differences in the innate immune response, five male and female BALB/c mice were infected intraperitoneally with coxsackievirus B3 (CVB3) or phosphate buffered saline and their spleens were harvested 12 h later for microarray analysis. Gene expression was determined using an Affymetrix Mouse Gene 1.0 ST Array. Significant gene changes were verified by quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction or ELISA.
During the innate immune response to CVB3 infection, infected males had higher splenic expression of genes which are important in regulating the influx of cholesterol into macrophages, such as phospholipase A2 (PLA2) and the macrophage scavenger receptor compared to the infected females. We also observed a higher expression in infected males compared to infected females of squalene synthase, an enzyme used to generate cholesterol within cells, and Cyp2e1, an enzyme important in metabolizing cholesterol and steroids. Infected males also had decreased levels of the translocator protein 18 kDa (TSPO), which binds PLA2 and is the rate-limiting step for steroidogenesis, as well as decreased expression of the androgen receptor (AR), which indicates receptor activation. Gene differences were not due to increased viral replication, which was unaltered between sexes.
We found that, compared to females, male mice had a greater splenic expression of genes which are important for cholesterol metabolism and activation of the AR at 12 h after infection. Activation of the AR has been linked to increased cardiac hypertrophy, atherosclerosis, myocarditis/DCM and heart failure in male mice and humans.
Sex hormones such as estrogen and testosterone are essential for sexually dimorphic behaviors in vertebrates. However, the hormone-activated molecular mechanisms that control the development and function of the underlying neural circuits remain poorly defined. We have identified numerous sexually dimorphic gene expression patterns in the adult mouse hypothalamus and amygdala. We find that adult sex hormones regulate these expression patterns in a sex-specific, regionally-restricted manner, suggesting that these genes regulate sex typical behaviors. Indeed, we find that mice with targeted disruptions of each of four of these genes (Brs3, Cckar, Irs4, Sytl4) exhibit extremely specific deficits in sex specific behaviors, with single genes controlling the pattern or extent of male sexual behavior, male aggression, maternal behavior, or female sexual behavior. Taken together, our findings demonstrate that various components of sexually dimorphic behaviors are governed by separable genetic programs.
Sexual dimorphism of astrocytes and neurons is well documented in many brain and spinal cord structures. Sexual dimorphism of oligodendrocytes (Olgs) and myelin has received less attention. We recently showed that density of Olgs in corpus callosum, fornix, and spinal cord of wild-type male rodents are more densely packed than in females; myelin proteins and myelin gene expression is likewise greater in males than in female rodents. However, glial cell proliferation and cell death were two times greater in female corpus callosum.
Endogenous sex hormones, specifically lack of androgens, produce an Olg female phenotype in castrated male mouse. In vitro studies using Olgs culture also showed differences between males and females Olg survival and signaling pathways in response to sexual hormones. Sexual dimorphism of white matter tracts and glia in rodents indicates the necessity for controlling gender in experimental studies of neurodegenerative disorders. Most importantly, our studies suggest that hormones may contribute to sexual dimorphism observed in certain human diseases including multiple sclerosis.
sexual dimorphism; oligodendrocytes; glia; proliferation; sex hormones
Sexual dimorphism in mammalian liver impacts genes affecting hepatic physiology, including inflammatory responses, diseased states and the metabolism of steroids and foreign compounds. Liver sex-specificity is dictated by sex differences in pituitary growth hormone (GH) secretion, with the transcription factor STAT5b required for intracellular signaling initiated by the pulsatile, male plasma GH profile. STAT5a, a highly homologous but minor liver STAT5 form, also responds to sexually dimorphic plasma GH stimulation, but is unable to compensate for the loss of STAT5b and the associated loss of sex-specific liver gene expression. A large-scale gene expression study was conducted using 23,574-feature oligonucleotide microarrays and livers of male and female mice, both wild-type and Stat5a-inactivated, to elucidate any dependence of liver gene expression on STAT5a. Significant sex differences in expression were found for 2482 mouse genes, 1045 showing higher expression in males and 1437 showing higher expression in females. In contrast to the widespread effects of the loss of STAT5b, STAT5a deficiency had a limited but well defined impact on liver sex-specificity, with 219 of 1437 female-predominant genes (15%) specifically decreased in expression in STAT5a-deficient female liver. Analysis of liver RNAs from wild-type mice representing three mixed or outbred strains identified 1028 sexually dimorphic genes across the strains, including 405 female-predominant genes, of which 91 (23%) required STAT5a for normal expression in female liver. These findings highlight the importance of STAT5a for regulation of sex-specific hepatic genes specifically in female liver, in striking contrast to STAT5b, whose major effects are restricted to male liver.
STAT5a; microarray; liver sexual dimorphism; growth hormone action; strain-dependent gene expression
Sexual dimorphism in anatomical, physiological, and behavioural traits characterize many vertebrate species. In humans, sexual dimorphism is also observed in the prevalence, course, and severity of many common diseases, including cardiovascular diseases, autoimmune diseases, and asthma. Although sex differences in the endocrine and immune systems probably contribute to these observations, recent studies suggest that sex-specific genetic architecture also influences human phenotypes, including reproductive, physiological, and disease traits. It is likely that an underlying mechanism is differential gene regulation in males and females, particularly in sex steroid responsive genes. Genetic studies that ignore sex-specific effects in their design and interpretation could fail to identify a significant proportion of the genes that contribute to risk for complex diseases.
Most neurobehavioral diseases are sexually dimorphic in their incidence, and sex differences in the brain may be key for understanding and treating these diseases. Calbindin (Calb) D28K is used as a biomarker for the well-studied sexually dimorphic nucleus, a hypothalamic structure that is larger in males than in females. In the current study weanling C56BL/6J mice were used to examine sex differences in the Calb protein and message focusing on regions outside of the hypothalamus. A robust sex difference was found in Calb in the frontal cortex (FC) and cerebellum (CB; specifically in Purkinje cells); mRNA and protein were higher in females than in males. Using 2 mouse lines, i.e. one with a complete deletion of estrogen receptor alpha (ERα) and the other with uncoupled gonads and sex chromosomes, we probed the mechanisms that underlie sexual dimorphisms. In the FC, deletion of ERα reduced Calb1 mRNA in females compared to males. In addition, females with XY sex chromosomes had levels of Calb1 equal to those of males. Thus, both ERα and the sex chromosome complement regulate Calb1 in the FC. In the CB, ERα knockout mice of both sexes had reduced Calb1 mRNA, yet sex differences were retained. However, the sex chromosome complement, regardless of gonadal sex, dictated Calb1 mRNA levels. Mice with XX chromosomes had significantly greater Calb1 than did XY mice. This is the first study demonstrating that sex chromosome genes are a driving force producing sex differences in the CB and FC, which are neuoranatomical regions involved in many normal functions and in neurobehavioral diseases.
Autism; X inactivation; Sex differences; Calbindin; Fragile X
The constitutive androstane receptor (CAR) is a xenosensing nuclear receptor and regulator of cytochrome P450s (CYPs). However, the role of CAR as a basal regulator of CYP expression nor its role in sexually dimorphic responses have been thoroughly studied. We investigated basal regulation and sexually dimorphic regulation and induction by the potent CAR activator TCPOBOP and the moderate CAR activator Nonylphenol (NP). NP is an environmental estrogen and one of the most commonly found environmental toxicants in Europe and the United States. Previous studies have demonstrated that NP induces several CYPs in a sexually dimorphic manner, however the role of CAR in regulating NP-mediated sexually dimorphic P450 expression and induction has not been elucidated. Therefore, wild-type and CAR-null male and female mice were treated with honey as a carrier, NP, or TCPOBOP and CYP expression monitored by QPCR and Western blotting. CAR basally regulates the expression of Cyp2c29, Cyp2b13, and potentially Cyp2b10 as demonstrated by QPCR. Furthermore, we observed a shift in the testosterone 6α/15α-hydroxylase ratio in untreated CAR-null female mice to the male pattern, which indicates an alteration in androgen status and suggests a role for androgens as CAR inverse agonists. Xenobiotic-treatments with NP and TCPOBOP induced Cyp2b10, Cyp2c29, and Cyp3a11 in a CAR-mediated fashion; however NP only induced these CYPs in females and TCPOBOP induced these CYPs in both males and females. Interestingly, Cyp2a4, was only induced in wild-type male mice by TCPOBOP suggesting Cyp2a4 induction is not sensitive to CAR-mediated induction in females. Overall, TCPOBOP and NP show similar CYP induction profiles in females, but widely different profiles in males potentially related to lower sensitivity of males to either indirect or moderate CAR activators such as NP. In summary, CAR regulates the basal and chemically-inducible expression of several sexually dimorphic xenobiotic metabolizing P450s in a manner that varies depending on the ligand.
constitutive androstane receptor (CAR); nonylphenol; cytochrome P450 (CYP); sexually dimorphic; liver
Males and females exhibit numerous anatomical and physiological differences in the brain which often underlie important sex differences in physiology or behavior, including aspects relating to reproduction. Neural sex differences are both region- and trait-specific and may consist of divergences in synapse morphology, neuron size and number, and specific gene expression levels. In most cases, sex differences are induced by the sex steroid hormonal milieu during early perinatal development. In rodents, the hypothalamic anteroventral periventricular nucleus (AVPV) is sexually differentiated as a result of postnatal sex steroids, and specific neuronal populations in this nucleus are also sexually dimorphic, with females possessing more kisspeptin, dopaminergic, and GABA/glutamate neurons than males. The ability of female rodents, but not males, to display an estrogen-induced luteinizing hormone (LH) surge is consistent with the higher levels of these neuropeptides in the AVPV of females. Of these AVPV populations, the recently-identified kisspeptin system has been most strongly implicated as a critical component of the sexually-dimorphic LH surge mechanism, though GABA and glutamate have also received some attention. New findings have suggested that the sexual differentiation and development of kisspeptin neurons in the AVPV is mediated by developmental estradiol signaling. Although apoptosis is the most common process implicated in neuronal sexual differentiation, it is currently unknown how developmental estradiol acts to differentiate specific neuronal populations in the AVPV, such as kisspeptin or dopaminergic neurons.
sex difference; sexually dimorphic; sexual differentiation; hypothalamus; kisspeptin; Kiss1; tyrosine hydroxylase; development; reproduction; AVPV
We present the first empirical evidence that mammalian sex-ratio deviations result from variation in adult-weight sexual dimorphism via correlated effects on blastocyst development. Two selection lines of mice exhibiting high and low sexual dimorphism in adult weight showed correlated sexual weight differences at birth and at weaning, caused by relatively decelerated growth of males in the low line from before birth. The sex ratio at birth was significantly female-biased in the low line, and significantly lower than in the highly dimorphic line. Concomitantly, blastomere numbers were at significantly higher variance in the low than in the highly dimorphic line, owing to an increased frequency of slowly growing blastocysts. Since low-dimorphism mice produced more corpora lutea and more female pups than the high-dimorphism mice, but not more males, birth sex-ratio bias most parsimoniously resulted from the loss of slowly growing male blastocysts. This is in agreement with the observation that sex-ratio skews in mammals arise when timing of uterine responsiveness (i.e. its temporally limited capacity for implantation) varies in relation to sex-specific embryonic growth rates. Hence, natural mammalian sex-ratio variation that stems from developmental asynchrony might be a by-product of natural selection for sexual dimorphism in adult weight.
Puberty is a time of significant change in preparation for adulthood. Here, we examined how stressful experience affects cognitive and related hormonal responses in male and female rats prior to, during and after puberty. Groups were exposed to an acute stressor of brief periodic tailshocks and tested 24 h later in an associative memory task of trace eyeblink conditioning. Exposure to the stressor did not alter conditioning in males or females prior to puberty but enhanced conditioning in both males and females during puberty. The enhancement occurred in pubescent females irrespective of the estrous cycle. In adulthood, sex differences in trace conditioning and the response to stress emerged: females outperformed males under unstressed conditions, but after stressor exposure, trace conditioning in females was impaired whereas that in males was enhanced. These differences were not related to changes in gross motor activity or other nonspecific measures of performance. The effects of acute stress on corticosterone, estradiol, progesterone, and testosterone were also measured. Stressor exposure increased the concentration of corticosterone in all age groups, although sex differences were only evident in adults. All reproductive hormones except estradiol increased with age in a predictable and sex dependent fashion and none were affected by stressor exposure. Estradiol decreased in male rats across age, and remained stable for female rats. Together, these data indicate that males and female respond similarly to learning opportunities and stressful experience before and during puberty; it is in adulthood that sex differences and the opposite responses to stress arise.
Development; Memory; Eyeblink; Sex difference; Age; Gender; Depression; Corticosterone; Estrogen; Testosterone
Stroke is a sexually dimorphic disease with male gender considered a disadvatage in terms of risk and disease outcome. In intact males, stroke induces peripheral immunosuppression, characterized by decreased splenocyte numbers and proliferation and altered percentages of viable T, B and CD11b+ cells. To investigate whether the potent androgen and known immunomodulator, dihydrotestosterone (DHT), exacerbates post-stroke immunosuppression in castrated male mice after focal stroke, we evaluated the effect of middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAO) on peripheral and central nervous system (CNS) immune responses in castrated mice with or without controlled levels of DHT. MCAO reduced spleen cell numbers in both groups, but altered T cell and B cell percentages in remaining splenocytes and concomitantly increased the percentage of CD11b+ blood cells solely in DHT-replaced animals at 24 h. Furthermore, DHT-replacement reduced splenocyte proliferation which was accompanied by an increased percentage of immunosuppressive regulatory T cells relative to castrates 96 h post-MCAO. In brain, the percentages of immune cell populations in the ischemic hemisphere relative to the non-ischemic hemisphere were similar between castrated and DHT-replaced mice after MCAO. These data suggest DHT modulates peripheral immunosuppression after MCAO but with relatively little effect on early immune response of the recovering CNS.
Ischemia; Stroke; Hormone; dihydrotestosterone; testosterone; Immunosuppression; regulatory T lymphocyte; neuroprotection
S-nitrosothiols have been implicated in the etiology of various pulmonary diseases. Many of these diseases display gender preferences in presentation or altered severity that occurs with puberty, the mechanism by which is unknown. Estrogen has been shown to influence the expression and activity of endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) which is associated with increased S-nitrosothiol production. The effects of gender hormones on the expression and activity of the de-nitrosylating enzyme S-nitrosoglutathione reductase (GSNO-R) are undefined. This report evaluates the effects of gender hormones on the activity and expression of GSNO-R and its relationship to N-acetyl cysteine (NAC)-induced pulmonary hypertension (PH). GSNO-R activity was elevated in lung homogenates from female compared to male mice. Increased activity was not due to changes in GSNO-R expression, but correlated with GSNO-R S-nitrosylation: females were greater than males. The ability of GSNO-R to be activated by S-nitrosylation was confirmed by: 1) the ability of S-nitrosoglutathione (GSNO) to increase the activity of GSNO-R in murine pulmonary endothelial cells and 2) reduced activity of GSNO-R in lung homogenates from eNOS−/− mice. Gender differences in GSNO-R activity appear to explain the difference in the ability of NAC to induce PH: female and castrated male animals are protected from NAC-induced PH. Castration results in elevated GSNO-R activity that is similar to that seen in female animals. The data suggest that GSNO-R activity is modulated by both estrogens and androgens in conjunction with hormonal regulation of eNOS to maintain S-nitrosothiol homeostasis. Moreover, disruption of this eNOS-GSNO-R axis contributes to the development of PH.
The posterodorsal aspect of the medial amygdala (MePD) is sexually dimorphic in regional volume, rostrocaudal extent, and neuronal soma size in rats. These dimorphisms are maintained by circulating gonadal hormones, as castration of adult male rats reduces MePD measures, while testosterone treatment of females increases them. We now report that the MePD is also sexually dimorphic in volume, rostrocaudal extent, and somal area in BALB/c mice. Four weeks after castration of adult male mice, MePD regional volume and soma size are reduced, but rostrocaudal extent is not, compared to sham-castrated males. Treatment of adult ovariectomized females with an aromatized metabolite of testosterone, estradiol, for eight weeks increased MePD volume and soma size, but not rostrocaudal extent. To probe the possible role of afferents in the steroid-induced plasticity of the MePD, we examined the effect of removing the olfactory bulbs in gonadally intact males and in estrogen-treated females. Bulbectomy had no effect on MePD morphology with one exception: among gonadally intact males, neuronal soma size was slightly smaller in the right MePD of bulbectomized males compared to males with intact bulbs. These results indicate that the sexual dimorphism and hormone responsiveness of the MePD that has been extensively studied in rats is also present in mice, which offer genetic tools for future research. We detected little or no evidence that olfactory bulb afferents play a role in maintaining MePD morphology in adult mice.
olfactory bulbs; testosterone; sexual behavior
A transient increase in insulin resistance (IR) is a component of puberty. We investigated the impact of body composition and adipokines on IR during puberty in Chinese children. This study included 3223 schoolchildren aged 6–18 years. IR was calculated using homeostasis model assessment (HOMA-IR). We revealed that body mass index (BMI) and waist circumference increased gradually during puberty in both genders, while fat-mass percentage (FAT%) increased steadily only in girls. Change of leptin showed striking sexual dimorphisms: in girls leptin increased steadily during puberty, whereas in boys, after a transient rise at the beginning of puberty, leptin declined by Tanner staging even in those overweight or obese. Inversely, adiponectin level decreased significantly during puberty. In both genders, HOMA-IR started to increase at the beginning of puberty, peaked in the middle, and revised at late puberty in overweight/obesity boys while it stayed high till the end of puberty in girls and normal weight boys. Multivariate regression analysis revealed that leptin presented a stronger indicator of HOMA-IR than anthropometric measures during puberty. Our results demonstrated that gender-specific FAT% and leptin changed with pubertal development. Leptin emerged as a stronger predictor of IR than traditional anthropometric indices, suggesting a prominent role in the development of pubertal IR.
Gonadal hormones contribute to ischemic neuroprotection, but cannot fully explain the observed sexual dimorphism in stroke outcomes seen during life stages with low sex steroid hormones. Sex chromosomal complement (XX in females; XY in males) may also contribute to ischemic sexual dimorphism. A transient middle cerebral artery occlusion model was used to investigate the role of X chromosome dosage in female XX and XO littermates of two mouse strains (Paf and EdaTa). Cohorts of XX and XO gonadally intact, ovariectomized, and ovariectomized females supplemented with estrogen were examined. Infarct sizes were equivalent between ovariectomized XX and XO mice, between intact XX and XO mice, and between estrogen-supplemented ovariectomized XX and XO mice. This is the first study to investigate the role of sex chromosome dosage in the response to cerebral ischemia. Neither the number of X chromosomes, nor the parent of origin of the remaining X chromosome, had a significant effect on the degree of cerebral infarction after experimental stroke in adult female mice. Estrogen was protective against cerebral ischemia in both XX and XO mice.
Q fever, a zoonosis due to Coxiella burnetii infection, exhibits sexual dimorphism; men are affected more frequently and severely than women for a given exposure. Here we explore whether the severity of C. burnetii infection in mice is related to differences in male and female gene expression profiles.
Mice were infected with C. burnetii for 24 hours, and gene expression was measured in liver cells using microarrays. Multiclass analysis identified 2,777 probes for which expression was specifically modulated by C. burnetti infection. Only 14% of the modulated genes were sex-independent, and the remaining 86% were differentially expressed in males and females. Castration of males and females showed that sex hormones were responsible for more than 60% of the observed gene modulation, and this reduction was most pronounced in males. Using functional annotation of modulated genes, we identified four clusters enriched in males that were related to cell-cell adhesion, signal transduction, defensins and cytokine/Jak-Stat pathways. Up-regulation of the IL-10 and Stat-3 genes may account for the high susceptibility of men with Q fever to C. burnetii infection and autoantibody production. Two clusters were identified in females, including the circadian rhythm pathway, which consists of positive (Clock, Arntl) and negative (Per) limbs of a feedback loop. We found that Clock and Arntl were down-modulated whereas Per was up-regulated; these changes may be associated with efficient bacterial elimination in females but not in males, in which an exacerbated host response would be prominent.
This large-scale study revealed for the first time that circadian rhythm plays a major role in the anti-infectious response of mice, and it provides a new basis for elucidating the role of sexual dimorphism in human infections.
A sexual dimorphism in fetal pulmonary maturation has been described in which the female fetal lung produces surfactant earlier in gestation than the male fetal lung. This is felt to be related to the increased incidence in male newborns of the Respiratory Distress Syndrome. Dihydrotestosterone will delay surfactant production in the female fetus, and a relationship between fetal sexual differentiation and fetal lung maturation has been proposed. We hypothesized that the dimorphism in fetal surfactant production is dependent on androgen receptor function. We measured phosphatidylcholine (PC), saturated phosphatidylcholine (SPC), and sphingomyelin (S) in the amniotic fluid of fetal mice of the mouse model of testicular feminization (Tfm mouse). In this model, male carriers of the X-linked Tfm gene have no functional androgen receptors. The mean amniotic fluid phosphatidylcholine to sphingomyelin ratio (PC/S ratio) was 28% higher in females than in normal males, and the amniotic fluid PC/S ratio of the Tfm male fetuses was the same as the females. The ratio of amniotic fluid saturated phosphatidylcholine to sphingomyelin (SPC/S ratio) was lowest in males, intermediate in females, and highest in Tfm males. A significant relationship between the fetal groups and the amniotic fluid SPC/S ratio was identified by analysis of variance. There were no differences in the whole lung phospholipid content between the three groups. To substantiate the effect of androgen receptors, dihydrotestosterone was injected into pregnant carriers of the Tfm mutation, 2.5 mg/d from day 10 of gestation through the day of sacrifice. The amniotic fluid PC/S ratio was decreased in the female fetuses (consisting of both homozygous normal and heterozygous carriers of the Tfm gene), but not in the Tfm male fetuses. The overall result was no significant difference between the male and female amniotic fluid PC/S ratio while the Tfm amniotic fluid PC/S ratio remained at the level of the untreated females. We conclude that androgens affect fetal lung development via a mechanism dependent on the presence of androgen receptors.
Stroke is a sexually dimorphic disease, with differences between males and females observed both clinically and in the laboratory. While males have a higher incidence of stroke throughout much of the lifespan, aged females have a higher burden of stroke. Sex differences in stroke result from a combination of factors, including elements intrinsic to the sex chromosomes as well as the effects of sex hormone exposure throughout the lifespan. Research investigating the sexual dimorphism of stroke is only in the beginning stages, but early findings suggest that different cell death pathways are activated in males and females after ischemic stroke. A greater understanding of the mechanisms underlying sex differences in stroke will lead to more appropriate treatment strategies for patients of both sexes.
brain; cerebral ischemia; gender differences; hypoxia–ischemia; middle cerebral artery occlusion; sex differences; stroke