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RATIONALE - Sex differences in the dopaminergic response to psychostimulants could have implications for drug abuse risk and other psychopathology involving the dopamine system, but human data are limited and mixed.
OBJECTIVES - Here, we sought to investigate sex differences in dopamine release after oral D-amphetamine administration.
METHODS - We used [F]fallypride positron emission tomography (PET) to measure the change in dopamine D2/3 receptor availability (%ΔBP, an index of dopamine release) between placebo and D-amphetamine sessions in two independent datasets containing a total of 39 females (on either hormonal birth control n = 18, postmenopausal n = 10, or studied in the first 10 days of their menstrual cycle n = 11) and 37 males.
RESULTS - Using both a priori anatomical regions of interest based on previous findings and voxelwise analyses, we failed to consistently detect broad sex differences in D-amphetamine-induced dopamine release. Nevertheless, there was limited evidence for greater right ventral striatal dopamine release in young adult males relative to similarly aged females, but this was not consistently observed across samples. Plasma estradiol did not correlate with dopamine release and this measure did not differ in females on and off hormonal birth control.
CONCLUSIONS - While our finding in young adults from one dataset of greater %ΔBP in males is partially consistent with a previously published study on sex differences in D-amphetamine-induced dopamine release, our data do not support the presence of consistent widespread sex differences in this measure of dopamine release.
BACKGROUND - The sex of an individual affects glucose homeostasis and the pathophysiology, incidence, and prevalence of diabetes as well as the response to therapy.
SCOPE OF THE REVIEW - This review focuses on clinical and experimental sex differences in islet cell biology and dysfunction during development and in adulthood in human and animal models. We discuss sex differences in β-cell and α-cell function, heterogeneity, and dysfunction. We cover sex differences in communication between gonads and islets and islet-cell immune interactions. Finally, we discuss sex differences in β-cell programming by nutrition and other environmental factors during pregnancy.
MAJOR CONCLUSIONS - Important sex differences exist in islet cell function and susceptibility to failure. These differences represent sex-related biological factors that can be harnessed for gender-based prevention of and therapy for diabetes.
Published by Elsevier GmbH.
OBJECTIVE - Phenome-wide association studies (PheWAS) scan across billing codes in the electronic health record (EHR) and re-purpose clinical EHR data for research. In this study, we examined whether PheWAS could function as an EHR-based discovery tool for systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and identified novel clinical associations in male versus female patients with SLE.
METHODS - We used a de-identified version of the Vanderbilt University Medical Center EHR, which includes more than 2.8 million subjects. We performed EHR-based PheWAS to compare SLE patients with age-, sex-, and race-matched control subjects and to compare male SLE patients with female SLE patients, controlling for multiple testing using a false discovery rate (FDR) P value of 0.05.
RESULTS - We identified 1,097 patients with SLE and 5,735 matched control subjects. In a comparison of patients with SLE and matched controls, SLE patients were shown to be more likely to have International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision codes related to the SLE disease criteria. In the PheWAS of male versus female SLE patients, with adjustment for age and race, male patients were shown to be more likely to have atrial fibrillation (odds ratio 4.50, false discovery rate P = 3.23 × 10 ). Chart review confirmed atrial fibrillation, with the majority of patients developing atrial fibrillation after the SLE diagnosis and having multiple risk factors for atrial fibrillation. After adjustment for age, sex, race, and coronary artery disease, SLE disease status was shown to be significantly associated with atrial fibrillation (P = 0.002).
CONCLUSION - Using PheWAS to compare male and female patients with SLE, we identified a novel association of an increased incidence of atrial fibrillation in male patients. SLE disease status was shown to be independently associated with atrial fibrillation, even after adjustment for age, sex, race, and coronary artery disease. These results demonstrate the utility of PheWAS as an EHR-based discovery tool for SLE.
© 2018, American College of Rheumatology.
BACKGROUND - People with Alzheimer's disease (AD) report pain less frequently and receive less pain medication than people without AD. Recent studies have begun to elucidate how pain may be altered in those with AD. However, potential sex differences in pain responsiveness have never been explored in these patients. It is unclear whether sex differences found in prior studies of healthy young and older individuals extend to people with AD.
OBJECTIVE - The purpose of this study was to examine sex differences in the psychophysical response to experimental thermal pain in people with AD.
METHODS - Cross-sectional analysis of 14 male and 14 female age-matched (≥65 years of age, median = 74) and AD severity-matched (Mini-Mental State Exam score <24, median = 16) communicative people who completed thermal psychophysics.
RESULTS - There was a statistically significant main effect of sex for both temperature and unpleasantness ratings that persisted after controlling for average and current pain (mixed-effects general liner model: temperature: p = 0.004, unpleasantness: p < 0.001). Females reported sensing mild pain and moderate pain percepts at markedly lower temperatures than did males (mild: Cohen's d = 0.72, p = 0.051, moderate: Cohen's d = 0.80, p = 0.036). By contrast, males rated mild and moderate thermal pain stimuli as more unpleasant than did females (mild: Cohen's d = 0.80, p = 0.072, moderate: Cohen's d = 1.32, p = 0.006). There were no statistically significant correlations of temperature with perceived unpleasantness for mild or moderate pain (rs = 0.29 and rs = 0.20 respectively, p > 0.05).
CONCLUSIONS - Results suggest experimental pain-related sex differences persist in older adults with AD in a different manner than those previously demonstrated in cognitively intact older adults. These findings could potentially aid in developing targeted pain management approaches in this vulnerable population. Further studies are warranted to replicate the findings from this pilot work.
It is unclear whether genetic markers interact with risk factors to influence atrial fibrillation (AF) risk. We performed genome-wide interaction analyses between genetic variants and age, sex, hypertension, and body mass index in the AFGen Consortium. Study-specific results were combined using meta-analysis (88,383 individuals of European descent, including 7,292 with AF). Variants with nominal interaction associations in the discovery analysis were tested for association in four independent studies (131,441 individuals, including 5,722 with AF). In the discovery analysis, the AF risk associated with the minor rs6817105 allele (at the PITX2 locus) was greater among subjects ≤ 65 years of age than among those > 65 years (interaction p-value = 4.0 × 10). The interaction p-value exceeded genome-wide significance in combined discovery and replication analyses (interaction p-value = 1.7 × 10). We observed one genome-wide significant interaction with body mass index and several suggestive interactions with age, sex, and body mass index in the discovery analysis. However, none was replicated in the independent sample. Our findings suggest that the pathogenesis of AF may differ according to age in individuals of European descent, but we did not observe evidence of statistically significant genetic interactions with sex, body mass index, or hypertension on AF risk.
Objective - A long-standing hypothesis is that when compared with males, females may be at increased risk of experiencing greater pain sensitivity and unpleasantness. The purpose of this study was to examine sex differences in pain psychophysics and resting state functional connectivity (RSFC) in core pain regions in an age- and sex-matched sample of healthy older adults.
Design - Between groups, cross-sectional.
Setting - Vanderbilt University and Medical Center.
Subjects - The sample in the analyses reported here consisted of 19 cognitively intact males matched with 19 cognitively intact females of similar ages (median ages: females = 70 years, males = 68 years).
Methods - Psychophysical assessment of experimental thermal pain and RSFC.
Results - There were no significant differences in perceptual thresholds or unpleasantness ratings in response to thermal stimuli. Older males showed greater RSFC between the affective and sensory networks and between affective and descending modulatory networks. Conversely, older females showed greater RSFC between the descending modulatory network and both sensory and affective networks. The strongest evidence for sex differences emerged in the associations of thermal pain with RSFC between the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) and amygdala and between the ACC and periaqueductal gray matter in older females relative to older males.
Conclusions - We found no differences in pain sensitivity or pain affect between older males and older females. Additionally, we found that older females exhibited a greater association between thermal pain sensitivity and RSFC signal between regions typically associated with pain affect and the descending modulatory system. One interpretation of these findings is that older females may better engage the descending pain modulatory system. This better engagement possibly translates into older females having similar perceptual thresholds for temperature sensitivity and unpleasantness associated with mild and moderate pain. These findings contrast with studies demonstrating that younger females find thermal pain more sensitive and more unpleasant.
Depression and anxiety are the most common psychiatric disorders, representing a major public health concern. Dysregulation of oxidative and inflammatory systems may be associated with psychiatric disorders, such as depression and anxiety. Due to the need to find appropriate animal models to the understanding of such disorders, we queried whether 2 BXD recombinant inbred (RI) mice strains (BXD21/TyJ RI and BXD84/RwwJ RI mice) and C57BL/6 wild-type mice show differential performance in depression and anxiety related behaviors and biomarkers. Specifically, we assessed social preference, elevated plus maze, forced swim, and Von Frey tests at 3-4 months-of-age, as well as activation of cytokines and antioxidant mRNA levels in the cortex at 7 months-of-age. We report that (1) the BXD84/RwwJ RI strain exhibits anxiety disorder and social avoidance-like behavior (2) BXD21/TyJ RI strain shows a resistance to depression illness, and (3) sex-dependent cytokine profiles and allodynia with elevated inflammatory activity were inherent to male BXD21/TyJ RI mice. In conclusion, we provide novel data in favor of the use of BXD recombinant inbred mice to further understand anxiety and depression disorders.
Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
To evaluate associations by EGFR mutation status for lung adenocarcinoma risk among never-smoking Asian women, we conducted a meta-analysis of 11 loci previously identified in genome-wide association studies (GWAS). Genotyping in an additional 10,780 never-smoking cases and 10,938 never-smoking controls from Asia confirmed associations with eight known single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). Two new signals were observed at genome-wide significance (P < 5 × 10-8), namely, rs7216064 (17q24.3, BPTF), for overall lung adenocarcinoma risk, and rs3817963 (6p21.3, BTNL2) which is specific to cases with EGFR mutations. In further sub-analyses by EGFR status, rs9387478 (ROS1/DCBLD1) and rs2179920 (HLA-DPB1) showed stronger estimated associations in EGFR-positive compared to EGFR-negative cases. Comparison of the overall associations with published results in Western populations revealed that the majority of these findings were distinct, underscoring the importance of distinct contributing factors for smoking and non-smoking lung cancer. Our results extend the catalogue of regions associated with lung adenocarcinoma in non-smoking Asian women and highlight the importance of how the germline could inform risk for specific tumour mutation patterns, which could have important translational implications.
Published by Oxford University Press 2016. This work is written by US Government employees and is in the public domain in the US.
Methylmercury (MeHg) is a ubiquitous environmental contaminant and neurotoxin, particularly hazardous to developing and young individuals. MeHg neurotoxicity during early development has been shown to be sex-dependent via disturbances in redox homeostasis, a key event mediating MeHg neurotoxicity. Therefore, we investigated if MeHg-induced changes in key systems of antioxidant defense are sex-dependent. C57BL/6J mice were exposed to MeHg during the gestational and lactational periods, modeling human prenatal and neonatal exposure routes. Dams were exposed to 5ppm MeHg via drinking water from early gestational period until postnatal day 21 (PND21). On PND21 a pair of siblings (a female and a male) from multiple (5-6) litters were euthanized and tissue samples were taken for analysis. Cytoplasmic and nuclear extracts were isolated from fresh cerebrum and cerebellum and used to determine thioredoxin (Trx) and glutathione (GSH) levels, as well as thioredoxin reductase (TrxR) and glutathione peroxidase (GPx) activities. The remaining tissue was used for mRNA analysis. MeHg-induced antioxidant response was not uniform for all the analyzed antioxidant molecules, and sexual dimorphism in response to MeHg treatment was evident for TrxR, Trx and GPx. The pattern of response, namely a decrease in males and an increase in females, may impart differential and sex-specific susceptibility to MeHg. GSH levels were unchanged in MeHg treated animals and irrespective of sex. Trx was reduced only in nuclear extracts from male cerebella, exemplifying a structure-specific response. Results from the gene expression analysis suggest posttranscriptional mechanism of sex-specific regulation of the antioxidant response upon MeHg treatment. The study demonstrates for the first time sex-and structure-specific changes in the response of the thioredoxin system to MeHg neurotoxicity and suggests that these differences in antioxidant responses might impart differential susceptibility to developmental MeHg exposure.
Copyright © 2016 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Women are disproportionately affected by Alzheimer's disease (AD) in terms of both disease prevalence and severity. Previous autopsy work has suggested that, in the presence of AD neuropathology, females are more susceptible to the clinical manifestation of AD. This manuscript extends that work by evaluating whether sex alters the established associations between cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) biomarker levels and brain aging outcomes (hippocampal volume, cognition). Participants were drawn from the Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI) and included individuals with normal cognition (n = 348), mild cognitive impairment (n = 565), and AD (n = 185). We leveraged mixed effects regression models to assess the interaction between sex and baseline cerebrospinal fluid biomarker levels of amyloid-β42 (Aβ-42) and total tau on cross-sectional and longitudinal brain aging outcomes. We found a significant interaction between sex and Aβ-42 on longitudinal hippocampal atrophy (p = 0.002), and longitudinal decline in memory (p = 0.017) and executive function (p = 0.025). Similarly, we observed an interaction between sex and total tau level on longitudinal hippocampal atrophy (p = 0.008), and longitudinal decline in executive function (p = 0.034). Women with Aβ-42 and total tau levels indicative of worse pathological changes showed more rapid hippocampal atrophy and cognitive decline. The sex difference was particularly pronounced among individuals with MCI, with lower education, and varied by APOE ε4 allele. These results suggest females may be more susceptible to the clinical manifestation of AD.