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J Clin Invest. 2008 Aug;118(8):2969-78. doi: 10.1172/JCI34957.

Sex differences in thrombosis in mice are mediated by sex-specific growth hormone secretion patterns.

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  • 1Cardiovascular Research Institute, Department of Medicine, Division of Cardiology, UCSF, San Francisco, California 94143-0124, USA.


Sex differences in thrombosis are well described, but their underlying mechanism(s) are not completely understood. Coagulation proteins are synthesized in the liver, and liver gene expression is sex specific and depends on sex differences in growth hormone (GH) secretion--males secrete GH in a pulsatile fashion, while females secrete GH continuously. Accordingly, we tested the hypothesis that sex-specific GH secretion patterns cause sex differences in thrombosis. Male mice were more susceptible to thrombosis than females in the thromboplastin-induced pulmonary embolism model and showed shorter clotting times ex vivo. GH-deficient little (lit) mice were protected from thrombosis, and pulsatile GH given to lit mice restored the male clotting phenotype. Moreover, pulsatile GH administration resulted in a male clotting phenotype in control female mice, while continuous GH caused a female clotting phenotype in control male mice. Expression of the coagulation inhibitors Proc, Serpinc1, Serpind1, and Serpina5 were strongly modulated by sex-specific GH patterns, and GH modulated resistance to activated protein C. These results reveal what we believe to be a novel mechanism whereby sex-specific GH patterns mediate sex differences in thrombosis through coordinated changes in the expression of coagulation inhibitor genes in the liver.

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