Sex differences in mitochondrial biogenesis determine neuronal death and survival in response to oxygen glucose deprivation and reoxygenation

Jaswinder Sharma, Michael V. Johnston, Mir A. Hossain

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Background: Mitochondrial dysfunction has been linked to neuronal death and a wide array of neurodegenerative diseases. Previously, we have shown sex differences in mitochondria-mediated cell death pathways following hypoxia-ischemia. However, the role of mitochondrial biogenesis in hypoxic-ischemic brain injury between male vs. female has not been studied yet.Results: Primary cerebellar granule neurons (CGNs), isolated from P7 male and female mice (CD-1) segregated based on visual inspection of sex, were exposed to 2 h of oxygen glucose deprivation (OGD) followed by 6-24 h of reoxygenation (Reox). Mitochondrial membrane potential (ΔΨm) and cellular ATP levels were reduced significantly in XX CGNs as compared to XY CGNs. Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) content was increased (>2-fold) at 2 h OGD in XY CGNs and remained increased up to 24 h of Reox compared to XX neurons and normoxia controls. The expression of mitochondrial transcription factor A (Tfam), the nuclear respiratory factor-1 (NRF-1) and the peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor γ coactivator-1α (PGC-1α), a master regulator of mitochondrial biogenesis, were up-regulated (2-fold, ***p < 0.001) in XY CGNs but slightly reduced or remained unchanged in XX neurons. Similarly, the TFAM and PGC-1α protein levels and the mitochondrial proteins HSP60 and COXIV were increased in XY neurons only. Supportively, a balanced stimulation of fusion (Mfn 1and Mfn 2) and fission (Fis 1 and Drp 1) genes and enhanced formation of donut-shaped mitochondria were observed in XY CGNs vs. XX neurons (**p < 0.01).Conclusions: Our results demonstrate that OGD/Reox alters mitochondrial biogenesis and morphological changes in a sex-specific way, influencing neuronal injury/survival differently in both sexes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number9
JournalBMC Neuroscience
StatePublished - Jan 10 2014



  • Donut mitochondria
  • Hypoxia-ischemia
  • Mitochondrial DNA
  • Mitochondrial fusion and fission
  • Sexual dimorphism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience

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