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Special Issue "Sexual Dimorphism in (Non Reproductive) Endocrine Diseases"

A special issue of International Journal of Molecular Sciences (ISSN 1422-0067). This special issue belongs to the section "Molecular Endocrinology and Metabolism".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 August 2021).

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Antoine Martinez
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Génétique Reproduction & Développement, CNRS UMR 6293, Inserm U1103, Université Clermont Auvergne, 63001, Clermont-Ferrand, France
Interests: molecular endocrinology; adrenal pathophysiology; endocrine differentiation; genetic mouse models
Dr. Pr Anne Paule Gimenez-Roqueplo
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Université de Paris, INSERM, PARCC, F-75015 Paris, France; Service de Génétique, AP-HP, Hôpital Européen Georges Pompidou, 75015 Paris, France
Interests: genetics; cellular metabolism; neuroendocrine tumors; rare cancers; personalized medicine

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

In vertebrates, the differences between sexes are not limited to the sometimes spectacular anatomical dimorphism seen in birds, but also relate to subtle changes in behavior, physiology, metabolic activities, and gene expression. It is therefore not surprising that most human diseases have a different prevalence, age of onset, or severity between women and men. The last few years have seen significant advances in our understanding of the underlying molecular mechanisms of sexual dimorphism in non-reproductive organs. The present issue of IJMS acknowledges these findings by providing in-depth reviews and highlights of some of the most exciting discoveries. Contributions will cover the case of emblematic “men’s diseases” such as cardiac diseases, where novel mechanisms explain female prevalence in certain arrhythmia. We will also read how the same nuclear receptor contributes to sex-dependent bone remodeling in both sexes. Sex-specific hormones are not the sole cause of sexual dimorphism. This particularly relates to fetal maturation of neuroendocrine/brain functions such as the hypothalamic–pituitary axis or microglial differentiation, whose alterations affect puberty onset or increase neurodegenerative diseases, respectively, with a clear difference between the sexes. Recent findings by Garel have highlighted how developing microglia acquire sexually dimorphic transcriptomic/epigenetic signatures that depend primarily on sex chromosomes and impart a remarkable dimorphic response to environmental perturbations. Several contributions in this Issue will describe how sex influences the adrenocortical steroid axis, from adrenal cortex renewal and pathogenesis, to the sexual dimorphism of mineralocorticoid signaling in kidney and the impacts of glucocorticoid excess in brain and behavior. An in-depth knowledge of mechanisms supporting sexual dimorphism is also essential in trying to improve patient care, as the higher mortality of male patients despite the same prevalence of COVID-19 in both men and women (or misdiagnosed in women) cruelly reminds us.

Dr. Antoine Martinez
Dr. Pr Anne Paule Gimenez-Roqueplo
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • sex difference in diseases
  • molecular mechanisms
  • endocrine and neuroendocrine function
  • rare diseases
  • animal models

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Review

Review
Sexual Dimorphism of Corticosteroid Signaling during Kidney Development
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(10), 5275; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms22105275 - 18 May 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 502
Abstract
Sexual dimorphism involves differences between biological sexes that go beyond sexual characteristics. In mammals, differences between sexes have been demonstrated regarding various biological processes, including blood pressure and predisposition to develop hypertension early in adulthood, which may rely on early events during development [...] Read more.
Sexual dimorphism involves differences between biological sexes that go beyond sexual characteristics. In mammals, differences between sexes have been demonstrated regarding various biological processes, including blood pressure and predisposition to develop hypertension early in adulthood, which may rely on early events during development and in the neonatal period. Recent studies suggest that corticosteroid signaling pathways (comprising glucocorticoid and mineralocorticoid signaling pathways) have distinct tissue-specific expression and regulation during this specific temporal window in a sex-dependent manner, most notably in the kidney. This review outlines the evidence for a gender differential expression and activation of renal corticosteroid signaling pathways in the mammalian fetus and neonate, from mouse to human, that may favor mineralocorticoid signaling in females and glucocorticoid signaling in males. Determining the effects of such differences may shed light on short term and long term pathophysiological consequences, markedly for males. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sexual Dimorphism in (Non Reproductive) Endocrine Diseases)
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Review
The Sexually Dimorphic Adrenal Cortex: Implications for Adrenal Disease
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(9), 4889; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms22094889 - 05 May 2021
Viewed by 563
Abstract
Many adrenocortical diseases are more prevalent in women than in men, but the reasons underlying this sex bias are still unknown. Recent studies involving gonadectomy and sex hormone replacement experiments in mice have shed some light onto the molecular basis of sexual dimorphism [...] Read more.
Many adrenocortical diseases are more prevalent in women than in men, but the reasons underlying this sex bias are still unknown. Recent studies involving gonadectomy and sex hormone replacement experiments in mice have shed some light onto the molecular basis of sexual dimorphism in the adrenal cortex. Indeed, it has been shown that gonadal hormones influence many aspects of adrenal physiology, ranging from stem cell-dependent tissue turnover to steroidogenesis and X-zone dynamics. This article reviews current knowledge on adrenal cortex sexual dimorphism and the potential mechanisms underlying sex hormone influence of adrenal homeostasis. Both topics are expected to contribute to personalized and novel therapeutic approaches in the future. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sexual Dimorphism in (Non Reproductive) Endocrine Diseases)
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Review
Sexual Dimorphism in Glucocorticoid Stress Response
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(6), 3139; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms22063139 - 19 Mar 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 585
Abstract
Chronic stress is encountered in our everyday life and is thought to contribute to a number of diseases. Many of these stress-related disorders display a sex bias. Because glucocorticoid hormones are the main biological mediator of chronic stress, researchers have been interested in [...] Read more.
Chronic stress is encountered in our everyday life and is thought to contribute to a number of diseases. Many of these stress-related disorders display a sex bias. Because glucocorticoid hormones are the main biological mediator of chronic stress, researchers have been interested in understanding the sexual dimorphism in glucocorticoid stress response to better explain the sex bias in stress-related diseases. Although not yet demonstrated for glucocorticoid regulation, sex chromosomes do influence sex-specific biology as soon as conception. Then a transient rise in testosterone start to shape the male brain during the prenatal period differently to the female brain. These organizational effects are completed just before puberty. The cerebral regions implicated in glucocorticoid regulation at rest and after stress are thereby impacted in a sex-specific manner. After puberty, the high levels of all gonadal hormones will interact with glucocorticoid hormones in specific crosstalk through their respective nuclear receptors. In addition, stress occurring early in life, in particular during the prenatal period and in adolescence will prime in the long-term glucocorticoid stress response through epigenetic mechanisms, again in a sex-specific manner. Altogether, various molecular mechanisms explain sex-specific glucocorticoid stress responses that do not exclude important gender effects in humans. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sexual Dimorphism in (Non Reproductive) Endocrine Diseases)
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Review
Critical Role of Estrogens on Bone Homeostasis in Both Male and Female: From Physiology to Medical Implications
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(4), 1568; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms22041568 - 04 Feb 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 946
Abstract
Bone is a multi-skilled tissue, protecting major organs, regulating calcium phosphate balance and producing hormones. Its development during childhood determines height and stature as well as resistance against fracture in advanced age. Estrogens are key regulators of bone turnover in both females and [...] Read more.
Bone is a multi-skilled tissue, protecting major organs, regulating calcium phosphate balance and producing hormones. Its development during childhood determines height and stature as well as resistance against fracture in advanced age. Estrogens are key regulators of bone turnover in both females and males. These hormones play a major role in longitudinal and width growth throughout puberty as well as in the regulation of bone turnover. In women, estrogen deficiency is one of the major causes of postmenopausal osteoporosis. In this review, we will summarize the main clinical and experimental studies reporting the effects of estrogens not only in females but also in males, during different life stages. Effects of estrogens on bone involve either Estrogen Receptor (ER)α or ERβ depending on the type of bone (femur, vertebrae, tibia, mandible), the compartment (trabecular or cortical), cell types involved (osteoclasts, osteoblasts and osteocytes) and sex. Finally, we will discuss new ongoing strategies to increase the benefit/risk ratio of the hormonal treatment of menopause. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sexual Dimorphism in (Non Reproductive) Endocrine Diseases)
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Review
Sexual Dimorphisms, Anti-Hormonal Therapy and Cardiac Arrhythmias
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(3), 1464; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms22031464 - 02 Feb 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 921
Abstract
Significant variations from the normal QT interval range of 350 to 450 milliseconds (ms) in men and 360 to 460 ms in women increase the risk for ventricular arrhythmias. This difference in the QT interval between men and women has led to the [...] Read more.
Significant variations from the normal QT interval range of 350 to 450 milliseconds (ms) in men and 360 to 460 ms in women increase the risk for ventricular arrhythmias. This difference in the QT interval between men and women has led to the understanding of the influence of sex hormones on the role of gender-specific channelopathies and development of ventricular arrhythmias. The QT interval, which represents the duration of ventricular repolarization of the heart, can be affected by androgen levels, resulting in a sex-specific predilection for acquired and inherited channelopathies such as acquired long QT syndrome in women and Brugada syndrome and early repolarization syndrome in men. Manipulation of the homeostasis of these sex hormones as either hormonal therapy for certain cancers, recreational therapy or family planning and in transgender treatment has also been shown to affect QT interval duration and increase the risk for ventricular arrhythmias. In this review, we highlight the effects of endogenous and exogenous sex hormones in the physiological and pathological states on QTc variation and predisposition to gender-specific pro-arrhythmias. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sexual Dimorphism in (Non Reproductive) Endocrine Diseases)
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Review
Escape from X Chromosome Inactivation and the Female Predominance in Autoimmune Diseases
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(3), 1114; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms22031114 - 23 Jan 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 914
Abstract
Women represent 80% of people affected by autoimmune diseases. Although, many studies have demonstrated a role for sex hormone receptor signaling, particularly estrogens, in the direct regulation of innate and adaptive components of the immune system, recent data suggest that female sex hormones [...] Read more.
Women represent 80% of people affected by autoimmune diseases. Although, many studies have demonstrated a role for sex hormone receptor signaling, particularly estrogens, in the direct regulation of innate and adaptive components of the immune system, recent data suggest that female sex hormones are not the only cause of the female predisposition to autoimmunity. Besides sex steroid hormones, growing evidence points towards the role of X-linked genetic factors. In female mammals, one of the two X chromosomes is randomly inactivated during embryonic development, resulting in a cellular mosaicism, where about one-half of the cells in a given tissue express either the maternal X chromosome or the paternal one. X chromosome inactivation (XCI) is however not complete and 15 to 23% of genes from the inactive X chromosome (Xi) escape XCI, thereby contributing to the emergence of a female-specific heterogeneous population of cells with bi-allelic expression of some X-linked genes. Although the direct contribution of this genetic mechanism in the female susceptibility to autoimmunity still remains to be established, the cellular mosaicism resulting from XCI escape is likely to create a unique functional plasticity within female immune cells. Here, we review recent findings identifying key immune related genes that escape XCI and the relationship between gene dosage imbalance and functional responsiveness in female cells. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sexual Dimorphism in (Non Reproductive) Endocrine Diseases)
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