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Biochim Biophys Acta. 2011 Aug;1812(8):964-73. doi: 10.1016/j.bbadis.2010.12.023. Epub 2011 Jan 4.

Sex differences in nuclear receptor-regulated liver metabolic pathways.

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  • 1Center for Integrative Genomics and National Research Center Frontiers in Genetics, University of Lausanne, Switzerland.


Liver metabolism is markedly sex-dimorphic; accordingly, the prevalence of liver diseases is different between sexes. The superfamily of nuclear receptors (NRs) governs the proper expression of key liver metabolism genes by sensing lipid-soluble hormones and dietary lipids. When the expression of those genes is deregulated, disease development is favored. However, we lack a comprehensive picture of the differences between NR actions in males and females. Here, we reviewed explorative studies that assessed NR functions in both sexes, and we propose a first map of sex-dimorphic NR expression in the liver. Our analysis suggested that NRs in the female liver exhibited cross-talk with more liver-protective potential than NRs in male liver. This study provides empirical support to the hypothesis that women are more resilient to some liver diseases than men, based on a more compensative NR network. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: Translating nuclear receptors from health to disease.

Copyright © 2010 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

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