Does a cell have a sex?

In recent years, in medical and life sciences, gender differences between men and women tend to become increasingly important. Women and men have some differences in body structure and hormones secreted, and thus symptoms and treatment methods may be different. For example, even with the same heart disease, men and women have different symptoms, and women are known to have a higher risk of heart disease. Some other drugs are fine for men, but some have been recovered due to side effects for women. As such, the response to drugs may be different, so not only male mice but also female mice are recommended as subjects in the development of new drugs.

나노입자와 생물학적 분자와의 상호작용이 나노입자 표면의 리간드에 의해 촉진되는 모습을그린 일러스트. Credit: Wikimedia Commons / OV Salata; vectorised by NikNaks
Credit: Wikimedia Commons / OV Salata; vectorised by NikNaks

Studies have shown that important biological differences between men and women are also evident at the cell level. Men and women also have various differences at the cell level, so this should be reflected in disease treatment. Researchers at Brigham & Women’s Hospital (BWH), Stanford University, McGill University in Canada, and Berkeley University in California conducted a study to determine how cell differences between men and women affect the absorption of nanoparticles. Nanoparticles used in nanomedicine are key media used to shoot images of tissues or organs in question and deliver drugs. The research team found that the sex of cells has a significant effect on the absorption of nanoparticles, and that male and female cells react differently to reprograms to improve the cell’s various differentiation capabilities.
The research team cultured nanoparticles with human amniotic stem cells (hAMSCs) extracted from the amniotic layers of the placenta attached to the male and female fetuses to determine whether the sex of the cells is an additional important factor influencing the outcome. The results showed that female cells absorb much more nanoparticles than male cells.

Cells in the human body are rich in a wide range of biomolecules, including paracrine factors, a small protein that interacts with the surface of nanoparticles. The research team found that paracrine factors differ in various ways between male and female cells. Of the 63 paracrine factors measured, 14 showed significant differences. These differences affect the biological identity of nanoparticles, which may change interactions with cells. In addition to paracrine differences, the research team also found important differences in the tissue, distribution, and shape of actin filaments in amniotic stem cells of women and men. Actin is a protein necessary for muscle construction or contraction, and this filament acts to wrap around particles like a small vine hand.

In order to obtain in-depth information on physicochemical and mechanical differences between female and male cells, studies on many different cells and intracellular differences will be needed.


Categories: Clinical