Molecular Sex Differences in Human Serum

JM Ramsey, E Schwarz, PC Guest, JM Beveren, FM Leweke, M Rothermundt, B Bogerts, J Steiner, L Ruta, S Baron-Cohen, Sabine Bahn

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Abstract

Background: Sex is an important factor in the prevalence, incidence, progression, and response to treatment of many medical conditions, including autoimmune and cardiovascular diseases and psychiatric conditions. Identification of molecular differences between typical males and females can provide a valuable basis for exploring conditions differentially affected by sex. Methodology/Principal Findings: Using multiplexed immunoassays, we analyzed 174 serum molecules in 9 independent cohorts of typical individuals, comprising 196 males and 196 females. Sex differences in analyte levels were quantified using a meta-analysis approach and put into biological context using k-means to generate clusters of analytes with distinct biological functions. Natural sex differences were established in these analyte groups and these were applied to illustrate sexually dimorphic Conclusions/Significance: Sex-specific molecular differences were detected in serum of typical controls and these were reproducible across independent cohorts. This study extends current knowledge of sex differences in biological functions involved in metabolism and immune function. Deviations from typical sex differences were found in a cluster of molecules in Asperger syndrome. These findings illustrate the importance of investigating the influence of sex on medical conditions.
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
JournalPLoS One (print)
Volume7
Issue number12
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2012

Research programs

  • EMC ONWAR-01-58-02
  • EMC ONWAR-01-94-01

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