Writing in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, a group of researchers found that nutrient deprivation of neurons produced sex-dependent effects. Male neurons more readily withered up and died, while female neurons did their best to conserve energy and stay alive.
That's right, nature has declared female brains should survive with a lot less than males. Take that, glass ceiling!
The idea that the sexes respond differently to nutrient deprivation is not new and revolves around the male preferences to conserve protein and female preferences to conserve fat. However, these metabolic differences have really only been examined in nutrient-rich tissues like muscles, fat deposits, and the liver.
Robert Clark and colleagues at the Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of University of Pittsburgh Medical Center examined whether this sex-dependent response in starvation could manifest in brain cells. They grew neurons taken separately from male and female rats or mice in lab dishes and subjected them to starvation over 72 hours.
After 24 hours, the male neurons experienced significantly more cell dysfunction (measured by analyzing cell respiration, which decreased by over 70% in male cells compared to 50% in female cells) and death. Visually, male neurons also displayed more abundant signs of autophagy, whereby a cell breaks down its components as a fuel source, while female neurons created more lipid droplets to store fat reserves.
As with other cell culture studies, the researchers note these results may not be truly indicative of what happens in living animals during starvation, but it allows them to look at the neurons independent of external factors like circulating hormones.
Article: "Starving Neurons Show Sex Difference in Autophagy" by Lina Du, Robert W. Hickey, Hülya Bayır, Simon C. Watkins, Vladimir Tyurin, Fengli Guo, Patrick M. Kochanek, Larry W. Jenkins, Jin Ren, Greg Gibson, Charleen T. Chu, Valerian E. Kagan, and Robert S. B. Clark, J. Biol. Chem..2009; 284: 2383-2396
- PHYSICAL SCIENCES
- EARTH SCIENCES
- LIFE SCIENCES
- SOCIAL SCIENCES
Subscribe to the newsletter
Stay in touch with the scientific world!
Know Science And Want To Write?
- Suggestion: The EM Drive Is Getting The Appropriate Level Of Attention From The Science Community
- It's Naive To Pretend Differences Between Women And Men Are Just Genetics
- Bang! Meet The Highest-Energy Hadron Collision Ever Imaged!
- GMOs Have Formaldehyde? Bizarre Claim Challenged By Experts
- Will Aspartame Critics Now Be Less Bitter?
- Bees: Activists Remain Silent While This Pollinator Killer Decimates Millions
- New Results From The LHC At 13 TeV!
- "Just to say I've been getting many interesting comments on this in the EMdrive subreddit yesterday..."
- "Just one question: those two jets...And the issue of rare statistics...Perhaps you could post some..."
- "Thanks, glad my article helped...."
- "Oh, silly me, I meant to write divided by the wavelength. Sometimes I come out with the wrong words..."
- "Yes, well caught, I got it upside down when I corrected it last night, fixed now :)...."
- Environmental activists are ignoring the real bee killer
- Corporate leader’s science creds under attack
- Rare bacteria cause outbreak in NYC
- John Stossel rips the EPA and NRDC too. Because they’re practically the same thing
- Fact checking pHony water
- Hopewell NJ votes gas pipeline off the island; why not shut down your entire energy supply to save Mother Earth?
- How bees naturally vaccinate their babies
- Mild hypothermia in deceased organ donors improves organ function in kidney transplant
- Trying to quit smoking? First strengthen self-control
- Paralyzed men move legs thanks to non-invasive spinal cord stimulation
- California 'rain debt' equal to average full year of precipitation