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Does cellular sex matter? Dimorphic transcriptional differences between female and male endothelial cells.

Session Poster Session 1

Speaker Mario Lorenz

Event : ESC Congress 2013

  • Topic : basic science
  • Sub-topic : Basic Science - Vascular Biology and Physiology
  • Session type : Poster Session

Authors : M Lorenz (Berlin,DE), J Koschate (Berlin,DE), K Kaufmann (Berlin,DE), C Kreye (Bergisch Gladbach,DE), M Mertens (Berlin,DE), WM Kuebler (Berlin,DE), G Baumann (Berlin,DE), G Gossing (Berlin,DE), K Stangl (Berlin,DE), V Stangl (Berlin,DE)

M. Lorenz1 , J. Koschate1 , K. Kaufmann1 , C. Kreye2 , M. Mertens3 , W.M. Kuebler3 , G. Baumann1 , G. Gossing4 , K. Stangl1 , V. Stangl1 , 1Charite - University Medicine Berlin, CCM, Department of Cardiology and Angiology - Berlin - Germany , 2Miltenyi Biotec GmbH - Bergisch Gladbach - Germany , 3Charite - University Medicine Berlin, Institute of Physiology - Berlin - Germany , 4Charite - University Medicine Berlin, Department of Obstetrics - Berlin - Germany ,

European Heart Journal ( 2013 ) 34 ( Abstract Supplement ), 119-120

Purpose: Significant sex differences exist in cardiovascular diseases. A critical impact of gonadal hormones on pathogenesis, disease progression and outcome is presumed. However, it is largely unknown whether sexually dimorphic gene expression also plays a role, and whether cells themselves show intrinsic sex differences.

Methods: We performed whole genome expression analyses in Human Umbilical Vein Endothelial Cells (HUVEC) from 20 male and 20 female donors and compared levels of gene transcription between the sexes. Furthermore, to investigate whether there is a sex-specific response to stress, we subjected male and female HUVEC to laminar shear stress of 6 dyn/cm2 for 24 hours and analyzed gene expression.

Results: Genes indicative for greater immune responsiveness were stronger expressed in female compared to male HUVEC. There was a significant enrichment of 77 immune-related genes in female HUVEC. Increased transcriptional levels in female cells were verified for 20 genes by real-time RT-PCR. After shear stress, 6.7% of all mRNAs were regulated. Female HUVEC showed a much stronger pronounced transcriptional response to shear than did their male counterparts. For instance, expression of VCAM-1 was 22.2-fold downregulated in female cells compared to 3.5-fold in male cells after shear. Downregulation of endothelin-1 after shear stress was 8.9 fold in female HUVEC and 4.8 fold in male HUVEC. In addition to quantitative differences, a number of genes were regulated in the opposite direction between the two sexes by shear stress.

Conclusions: Our results suggest that sexual dimorphism in endothelial cells may contribute to explain gender differences in endothelial function or atherosclerosis. In addition, these data indicate caution in interpretation of cell culture experiments and point to the importance for differentiation between male and female cells when doing in vitro experiments.

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