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Transcriptional sex and regional differences in paired human atrial and ventricular cardiac biopsies collected in vivo

Journal article
Authors J. Synnergren
Kristina Vukusic
P. Donnes
Marianne Jonsson
Anders Lindahl
Göran Dellgren
Anders Jeppsson
Julia Asp
Published in Physiological Genomics
Volume 52
Issue 2
Pages 110-120
ISSN 1094-8341
Publication year 2020
Published at Department of Laboratory Medicine
Institute of Medicine, Department of Molecular and Clinical Medicine
Pages 110-120
Language en
Keywords cardiac tissue, differentially expressed genes, gender, gene expression, left ventricle, microarray, right atrium, sex, transcription, gene-expression, heart, electrophysiology, myocardium, women, Cell Biology, Genetics & Heredity, Physiology
Subject categories Clinical physiology


Transcriptional studies of the human heart provide insight into physiological and pathophysiological mechanisms, essential for understanding the fundamental mechanisms of normal cardiac function and how they are altered by disease. To improve the understanding of why men and women may respond differently to the same therapeutic treatment it is crucial to learn more about sex-specific transcriptional differences. In this study the transcriptome of right atrium and left ventricle was compared across sex and regional location. Paired biopsies from five male and five female patients undergoing aortic valve replacement or coronary artery bypass grafting were included. Gene expression analysis identified 620 differentially expressed transcripts in atrial and ventricular tissue in men and 471 differentially expressed transcripts in women. In total 339 of these transcripts overlapped across sex but notably, 281 were unique in the male tissue and 162 in the female tissue, displaying marked sex differences in the transcriptional machinery. The transcriptional activity was significantly higher in atrias than in ventricles as 70% of the differentially expressed genes were upregulated in the atrial tissue. Furthermore, pathway- and functional annotation analyses performed on the differentially expressed genes showed enrichment for a more heterogeneous composition of biological processes in atrial compared with the ventricular tissue, and a dominance of differentially expressed genes associated with infection disease was observed. The results reported here provide increased insights about transcriptional differences between the cardiac atrium and ventricle but also reveal transcriptional differences in the human heart that can be attributed to sex.

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