sex differences

Chinese researchers investigate androgens’ role in shaping sex differences


Chinese researchers have explored the role of androgens in shaping sex differences at the molecular and cellular levels, according to a research article published in journal Nature on Wednesday.

This research has laid a foundation for the potential targeting of the androgen pathway in the treatment of sex-biased diseases.

Sex differences are widespread across human development, physiological processes and diseases, making it important to characterize the impact of sex differences in these areas.

A team of researchers from the Center for Excellence in Molecular Cell Science of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Peking University and the Shenzhen Bay Laboratory, constructed a detailed single-cell transcriptomic map of 17 different tissues from a mouse.

Using this dataset, they analyzed sex differences in depth and investigated how androgens influence these differences through specific molecules and cell types. They also explored the implications of their findings on sex-biased diseases.

The researchers pinpointed the genes among these various tissues and cell types whose expression is sex-biased and directly influenced by androgens. These genes have been highlighted as potential targets for precision medicine through the modulation of the androgen pathway.

The researchers also detailed how androgens affect the prevalence of certain cell types across sexes in various tissues, notably within immune cell populations.

By integrating their findings with data from the UK Biobank, the researchers discovered the most common risk genes for multiple sex-biased diseases. Additionally, some of the genes showed sex differences or were androgen-responsive, according to the study.