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1.  The number of X chromosomes influences protection from cardiac ischaemia/reperfusion injury in mice: one X is better than two 
Cardiovascular Research  2014;102(3):375-384.
Sex differences in coronary heart disease have been attributed to sex hormones, whereas the potential role of the sex chromosomes has been ignored so far. Here, we investigated the role of the sex chromosomes in causing sex differences in myocardial ischaemia/reperfusion (I/R) injury.
Methods and results
We used two unique mouse models, the ‘four core genotypes’ [XX mice with ovaries (XXF) or testes (XXM) and XY mice with ovaries (XYF) or testes (XYM)] and XY* (gonadal male or female mice with one or two X chromosomes). All mice were gonadectomized (GDX). In vivo or isolated Langendorff-perfused hearts were subjected to I/R injury. The in vivo infarct size in XY mice was significantly smaller than XX mice regardless of their gonadal type (24.5 ± 4.1% in XYF and 21.8 ± 3.3% in XYM vs. 37.0 ± 3.2% in XXF and 35.5 ± 2.1% in XXM, P < 0.01). Consistent with the results in vivo, the infarct size was markedly smaller and cardiac functional recovery was significantly better in XY mice compared with XX ex vivo. The mitochondrial calcium retention capacity was significantly higher in XY compared with XX mice (nmol/mg protein: XXF = 126 ± 9 and XXM = 192 ± 45 vs. XYF = 250 ± 56 and XYM = 286 ± 51, P < 0.05). In XY* mice, mice with 2X chromosomes had larger infarct size (2X females = 41.4 ± 8.9% and 2X males = 46.3 ± 9.5% vs. 1X females = 23.7 ± 3.9% and 1X males = 26.6 ± 6.9%, P < 0.05) and lower heart functional recovery, compared with those with 1X chromosome. Several X genes that escape X inactivation (Eif2s3x, Kdm6a, and Kdm5c) showed higher expression in XX than in XY hearts.
XX mice have higher vulnerability to I/R injury compared with XY mice, which is due to the number of X chromosomes rather than the absence of the Y chromosome.
PMCID: PMC4030514  PMID: 24654234
Sex chromosome; Cardiac ischaemia/reperfusion
2.  Feminized Behavior and Brain Gene Expression in a Novel Mouse Model of Klinefelter Syndrome 
Archives of sexual behavior  2014;43(6):1043-1057.
Klinefelter Syndrome is the most common sex chromosome aneuploidy in men and is characterized by the presence of an additional X chromosome (XXY). In some Klinefelter males, certain traits may be feminized or shifted from the male-typical pattern towards a more female-typical one. Among them might be partner choice, one of the most sexually dimorphic traits in the animal kingdom. We investigated the extent of feminization in XXY male mice (XXYM) in partner preference and gene expression in the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis/preoptic area and the striatum in mice from the Sex Chromosome Trisomy model. We tested for partner preference using a three-chambered apparatus in which the test mouse was free to choose between stimulus animals of either sex. We found that partner preference in XXYM was feminized. These differences were likely due to interactions of the additional X chromosome with the Y. We also discovered genes that differed in expression in XXYM vs. XYM. Some of these genes are feminized in their expression pattern. Lastly, we also identified genes that differed only between XXYM vs. XYM and not XXM vs. XYM. Genes that are both feminized and unique to XXYM vs. XYM represent strong candidates for dissecting the molecular pathways responsible for phenotypes present in KS/XXYM but not XXM. In sum, our results demonstrated that investigating behavioral and molecular feminization in XXY males can provide crucial information about the pathophysiology of Klinefelter Syndrome and may aid our understanding of sex differences in brain and behavior.
PMCID: PMC4371776  PMID: 24923877
sexual orientation; Klinefelter Syndrome; sexual behavior; 47, XXY; sex chromosome trisomy; partner choice
3.  The Sex Chromosome Trisomy mouse model of XXY and XYY: metabolism and motor performance 
Klinefelter syndrome (KS), caused by XXY karyotype, is characterized by low testosterone, infertility, cognitive deficits, and increased prevalence of health problems including obesity and diabetes. It has been difficult to separate direct genetic effects from hormonal effects in human studies or in mouse models of KS because low testosterone levels are confounded with sex chromosome complement.
In this study, we present the Sex Chromosome Trisomy (SCT) mouse model that produces XXY, XYY, XY, and XX mice in the same litters, each genotype with either testes or ovaries. The independence of sex chromosome complement and gonadal type allows for improved recognition of sex chromosome effects that are not dependent on levels of gonadal hormones. All mice were gonadectomized and treated with testosterone for 3 weeks. Body weight, body composition, and motor function were measured.
Before hormonal manipulation, XXY mice of both sexes had significantly greater body weight and relative fat mass compared to XY mice. After gonadectomy and testosterone replacement, XXY mice (both sexes) still had significantly greater body weight and relative fat mass, but less relative lean mass compared to XY mice. Liver, gonadal fat pad, and inguinal fat pad weights were also higher in XXY mice, independent of gonadal sex. In several of these measures, XX mice also differed from XY mice, and gonadal males and females differed significantly on almost every metabolic measure. The sex chromosome effects (except for testis size) were also seen in gonadally female mice before and after ovariectomy and testosterone treatment, indicating that they do not reflect group differences in levels of testicular secretions. XYY mice were similar to XY mice on body weight and metabolic variables but performed worse on motor tasks compared to other groups.
We find that the new SCT mouse model for XXY and XYY recapitulates features found in humans with these aneuploidies. We illustrate that this model has significant promise for unveiling the role of genetic effects compared to hormonal effects in these syndromes, because many phenotypes are different in XXY vs. XY gonadal female mice which have never been exposed to testicular secretions.
PMCID: PMC3751353  PMID: 23926958
Klinefelter; Sex chromosome trisomy; XXY; XYY; Mouse; X chromosome; Y chromosome; Body weight; Obesity
4.  The Number of X Chromosomes Causes Sex Differences in Adiposity in Mice 
PLoS Genetics  2012;8(5):e1002709.
Sexual dimorphism in body weight, fat distribution, and metabolic disease has been attributed largely to differential effects of male and female gonadal hormones. Here, we report that the number of X chromosomes within cells also contributes to these sex differences. We employed a unique mouse model, known as the “four core genotypes,” to distinguish between effects of gonadal sex (testes or ovaries) and sex chromosomes (XX or XY). With this model, we produced gonadal male and female mice carrying XX or XY sex chromosome complements. Mice were gonadectomized to remove the acute effects of gonadal hormones and to uncover effects of sex chromosome complement on obesity. Mice with XX sex chromosomes (relative to XY), regardless of their type of gonad, had up to 2-fold increased adiposity and greater food intake during daylight hours, when mice are normally inactive. Mice with two X chromosomes also had accelerated weight gain on a high fat diet and developed fatty liver and elevated lipid and insulin levels. Further genetic studies with mice carrying XO and XXY chromosome complements revealed that the differences between XX and XY mice are attributable to dosage of the X chromosome, rather than effects of the Y chromosome. A subset of genes that escape X chromosome inactivation exhibited higher expression levels in adipose tissue and liver of XX compared to XY mice, and may contribute to the sex differences in obesity. Overall, our study is the first to identify sex chromosome complement, a factor distinguishing all male and female cells, as a cause of sex differences in obesity and metabolism.
Author Summary
Differences exist between men and women in the development of obesity and related metabolic diseases such as type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Previous studies have focused on the sex-biasing role of hormones produced by male and female gonads, but these cannot account fully for the sex differences in metabolism. We discovered that removal of the gonads uncovers an important genetic determinant of sex differences in obesity—the presence of XX or XY sex chromosomes. We used a novel mouse model to tease apart the effects of male and female gonads from the effects of XX or XY chromosomes. Mice with XX sex chromosomes (relative to XY), regardless of their type of gonad, had increased body fat and ate more food during the sleep period. Mice with two X chromosomes also had accelerated weight gain, fatty liver, and hyperinsulinemia on a high fat diet. The higher expression levels of a subset of genes on the X chromosome that escape inactivation may influence adiposity and metabolic disease. The effect of X chromosome genes is present throughout life, but may become particularly significant with increases in longevity and extension of the period spent with reduced gonadal hormone levels.
PMCID: PMC3349739  PMID: 22589744

Results 1-4 (4)