Response to Diseases Vary at Gene Level

by Medindia Content Team on  July 8, 2006 at 11:51 AM Genetics & Stem Cells News   - G J E 4
Response to Diseases Vary at Gene Level
Recent research has revealed that men and women often respond differently to diseases and drugs probably because of the differences in gene behavior in the organs of males and females.

Mice, which share 99 percent of their genes with humans, have been used as the subjects of the study of gene activity in its brain, fat, muscle and liver tissue. The results of the research have been published in August issue of the journal Genome Research.

According to Xia Yang, a postdoctoral fellow in cardiology at the University of California Los Angeles and lead researcher of this study "We previously had no good understanding of why the sexes vary in their relationship to different diseases".

"Our study discovered a genetic disparity that may explain why males and females diverge in terms of disease risk, rate and severity."

As study co-author Jake Lusis, a professor of human genetics at UCLA said although genes worked similarly in both sexes, there were striking and unexpected differences in the amount of gene expression between males and females. These findings could help to better understand diabetes, heart disease and obesity and thereby aid in gender-specific therapies.

It was found that in liver, fat and muscle tissue, the sex of the organism affected gene expression for several thousands of genes. However in the brain, the effect was limited to only some hundreds of genes.

Mainly genes involved in organ function, such as liver metabolism were found to be affected.

Luiss said that these differences could probably explain why studies have found ASA is better at preventing heart attack in men than women.


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