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?
- Part I: Bee Deaths Mystery Solved? Neonicotinoids (Neonics) May Actually Help Bee Health
- Smoking, Drinking And Eating: It's Not About Your Freedom
- Part II: Bee Deaths And CCD - Flawed Chensheng Lu Harvard Studies Endanger Bees
- Coffee Lowers Risk Of Alzheimer's Up To 20 Percent
- Diversity Fatigue: Why Businesses Struggle To Close The Gender Gap
- Big Data Engineering - Now With More Neuroscience
- Like Collaboration And Intelligence In Humans? Thank War
- "No intelligent person believes tobacco controls' santimonious twaddle anymore. This is the purvey..."
- "A note from THE SIN OF PROHIBITION by G.K.Chesterton:So if you wish to change corporate behaviour..."
- "How can diseases linked to smoking tobacco be on the rise when the smoking rate has been consistently..."
- "I was looking at The Winnower again this morning, which led me back here. I tried to comment on..."
- "There is no question they were created to cater to universities and are staffed by people from..."
- Behavioral interventions to prevent progression to diabetes equally effective in men and women
- Gender differences in adaptation to space flight
- Long-term complication rate low in nose job using patient's own rib cartilage
- Survival differences seen for advanced-stage laryngeal cancer
- Effect of once-daily, low-dose aspirin on heart attack deaths and other outcomes