Sex differences exist in the prevalence, presentation and outcomes of ischemic heart disease (IHD). Females have higher risk of heart failure post-myocardial infarction relative to males and are two to three times more likely to die after coronary artery bypass grafting surgery. We examined sex differences in human myocardial gene expression in response to ischemia. Left ventricular biopsies from 68 male/46 female patients undergoing aortic valve replacement surgery were obtained at baseline and after a median 74 min of cold cardioplegic arrest/ischemia. Transcriptomes were quantified by RNA-sequencing. Cell-type enrichment analysis was used to estimate the identity and relative proportions of different cell types in each sample. A sex-specific response to ischemia was observed for 271 genes. Notably, the expression FAM5C, PLA2G4E and CYP1A1 showed an increased expression in females compared to males due to ischemia and DIO3, MT1G and CMA1 showed a decreased expression in females compared to males due to ischemia. Functional annotation analysis revealed sex-specific modulation of the oxytocin signaling pathway and common pathway of fibrin clot formation. Expression quantitative trait locus (eQTL) analysis identified variant-by-sex interaction eQTLs, indicative of sex differences in the genotypic effects on gene expression. Cell-type enrichment analysis showed sex-bias in proportion of specific cell types. Common lymphoid progenitor cells and M2 macrophages were found to increase in female samples from pre- to post-ischemia, but no change was observed in male samples. These differences in response to myocardial ischemia provide insight into the sexual dimorphism of IHD and may aid in the development of sex-specific therapies that reduce myocardial injury.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology