Stress: the male cells die, the female cells more resistant

The very important discovery is due to the efforts of the researchers of the Istituto Superiore di Sanità

In particularly intense stress conditions, female cells survive. The case is different with those of men who tend to commit suicide. This is the result of a recent study published on the pages of the journal Cell Death & Disease. The research in question, which saw the ISS (Health Institute) experts at the forefront, saw the collaboration of a scientific team from the University of Bologna and a pool of experts from the CNR of Rome.

The aforementioned result was commented by Dr. Paola Matarrese, active at the Istituto Superiore di Sanità and among the authors of the study. Matarrese pointed out that, in most cases, male cells, ie those characterized by the presence of the X chromosome and the Y chromosome, respond to stressful conditions with apoptosis (programmed death).

He also pointed out that, on the contrary, the cells of the female body put in place defense mechanisms, specifically appealing to autophagy. When this term is used, the ability of the cells to selectively eliminate the cytoplasmic components that have been damaged is framed.

According to the experts who conducted the study, these differences would be attributable to the miR548am-5p microRNA. What is microRNA? These are very short genetic chains capable of modifying cell functions. Their role is particularly relevant when it comes to dealing with diseases.

Also the Dr. Anna Ruggieri of the ISS has expressed herself on this important result, recalling that the presence of the miR548am-5p microRNA in the cells of the female body favors the response to stress thanks in particular to the regulation of the Bax gene activity and Bcl2 gene, whose role is crucial in the processes that determine mitochondria mediated death.

The result of this study is of great importance. Thanks to the work of ISS researchers it is in fact possible to understand why some diseases mainly involve men. Furthermore, it makes it possible to shed more light on the reasons why the two sexes reveal different symptoms in the face of the same pathological condition. This is due to the fact that, as always emphasized by Dr. Matarrese, not only the genes, but also the elements that regulate their expression, are different between men and women.

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