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Widespread sex dimorphism in aging and age-related diseases

  • Nirmal K. Sampathkumar
  • Juan I. Bravo
  • Yilin Chen
  • Prakroothi S. Danthi
  • Erin K. Donahue
  • Rochelle W. Lai
  • Ryan Lu
  • Lewis T. Randall
  • Nika Vinson
  • Bérénice A. BenayounEmail author
Review
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Molecular Genetics of Aging and Longevity

Abstract

Although aging is a conserved phenomenon across evolutionary distant species, aspects of the aging process have been found to differ between males and females of the same species. Indeed, observations across mammalian studies have revealed the existence of longevity and health disparities between sexes, including in humans (i.e. with a female or male advantage). However, the underlying mechanisms for these sex differences in health and lifespan remain poorly understood, and it is unclear which aspects of this dimorphism stem from hormonal differences (i.e. predominance of estrogens vs. androgens) or from karyotypic differences (i.e. XX vs. XY sex chromosome complement). In this review, we discuss the state of the knowledge in terms of sex dimorphism in various aspects of aging and in human age-related diseases. Where the interplay between sex differences and age-related differences has not been explored fully, we present the state of the field to highlight important future research directions. We also discuss various dietary, drug or genetic interventions that were shown to improve longevity in a sex-dimorphic fashion. Finally, emerging tools and models that can be leveraged to decipher the mechanisms underlying sex differences in aging are also briefly discussed.

Notes

Acknowledgements

We apologize to the authors whose work we could not cite due to space constraints. J.I.B.’s work was supported by NIA T32-AG052374 and NSF graduate research fellowship DGE-1842487. L.T.R.’s work was supported by NIA T32-AG052374 and a USC Provost’s Fellowship. B.A.B.’s work was supported by by NIA R00AG049934, NIA R21AG063739, an innovator Grant from the Rose Hills foundation, a seed grant from the NAVIGAGE foundation, and a generous gift from the Hanson-Thorell Family.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

On behalf of all authors, the corresponding author states that there is no conflict of interest.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nirmal K. Sampathkumar
    • 1
    • 2
  • Juan I. Bravo
    • 1
    • 3
  • Yilin Chen
    • 1
    • 4
  • Prakroothi S. Danthi
    • 1
  • Erin K. Donahue
    • 1
    • 5
  • Rochelle W. Lai
    • 1
  • Ryan Lu
    • 1
    • 3
  • Lewis T. Randall
    • 1
    • 3
  • Nika Vinson
    • 6
  • Bérénice A. Benayoun
    • 1
    • 7
    • 8
    Email author
  1. 1.Leonard Davis School of GerontologyUniversity of Southern CaliforniaLos AngelesUSA
  2. 2.Maurice Wohl Clinical Neuroscience Institute, King’s College LondonLondonUK
  3. 3.Graduate Program in the Biology of AgingUniversity of Southern CaliforniaLos AngelesUSA
  4. 4.Masters Program in Nutrition, Healthspan, and LongevityUniversity of Southern CaliforniaLos AngelesUSA
  5. 5.Neuroscience Graduate ProgramUniversity of Southern CaliforniaLos AngelesUSA
  6. 6.Department of Urology, Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive SurgeryUCLA David Geffen School of MedicineLos AngelesUSA
  7. 7.USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center, Epigenetics and Gene RegulationLos AngelesUSA
  8. 8.USC Stem Cell InitiativeLos AngelesUSA

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