Sex differences in cardiovascular disease and cardiac physiology have been reported in humans as well as in animal models. Premenopausal women have reduced cardiovascular disease compared to men, but the incidence of cardiovascular disease in women increases following menopause. Sex differences in cardiomyocytes likely contribute to the differences in male-female physiology and response to disease. Sex differences in the heart have been noted in electrophysiology, contractility, signaling, metabolism, and cardioprotection. These differences appear to be due, at least in part, to differences in gene and protein expression as well as in posttranslational protein modifications. This review will focus primarily on estrogen-mediated male-female differences in protein expression and signaling pathways in the heart and cardiac cells. It should be emphasized that these basic differences are not intrinsically beneficial or detrimental per se; the difference can be good or bad depending on the context and circumstances.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Gender Studies