Study explains why men are more at risk for neurodevelopmental disorders

NewsGuard 100/100 Score

A new study has shed light on the reason why males are more at risk than females for neurodevelopmental disorders.

Image Credit: Andrii Vodolazhskyi / Shutterstock

Researchers already know that anxiety tends to affect women more than men, while neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism, schizophrenia and ADHD are more common among men. Men also tend to be more affected by prenatal insults including maternal infection and gestational stress.

Now, Dr. Tracy Bale (University of Maryland School of Medicine) and colleagues have identified a molecular mechanism underlying this disparity.

As reported in the journal Nature Communications, Bale and team found that a molecule called O-linked N-acetylglucosamine transferase (OGT), which plays an important role in placental health, is involved in determining sex-specific patterns of gene expression.

OGT appears to work via a histone methylation called H3K27me3 occurring on histone 3, which affects how genes are expressed.

The study showed that high levels of H3K27me3 in the placenta increase resilience to maternal stress. This suggests that there is at least one pathway that enables women to be more resilient than men to stress experienced by the mother.

Dr Bale suggests that this pathway may explain the gender-specific disparity in the risk for neurodevelopmental disorders.

OGT and H3K27me3 in the placenta are crucial to a lot of protein encoding that occurs during pregnancy, and so this process has a lot of downstream effects. The OGT gene is on the X chromosome and seems to provide a level of protection for the female fetus to perturbations in the maternal environment."

Dr. Tracy Bale

The association between stress and the risk for neurodevelopmental disorders has been a key focus in many of Dr Bale’s studies, which have previously demonstrated novel sex differences that may predict a greater risk of disease among males.

In one study of mice, she found that paternal stress can result in changes in the sperm that influence how the brain develops in offspring.

She also discovered that the offspring of male mice with chronic mild stress have a decreased hormonal response to stress – a response that has been associated with certain neuropsychiatric conditions.

These findings suggest that the health of offspring can be significantly influenced by even mild challenges in the surrounding environment.

Source:

https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-07/uoms-sim070318.php

Sally Robertson

Written by

Sally Robertson

Sally first developed an interest in medical communications when she took on the role of Journal Development Editor for BioMed Central (BMC), after having graduated with a degree in biomedical science from Greenwich University.

Citations

Please use one of the following formats to cite this article in your essay, paper or report:

  • APA

    Robertson, Sally. (2019, June 19). Study explains why men are more at risk for neurodevelopmental disorders. News-Medical. Retrieved on June 13, 2024 from https://www.news-medical.net/news/20180704/Study-explains-why-men-are-more-at-risk-for-neurodevelopmental-disorders.aspx.

  • MLA

    Robertson, Sally. "Study explains why men are more at risk for neurodevelopmental disorders". News-Medical. 13 June 2024. <https://www.news-medical.net/news/20180704/Study-explains-why-men-are-more-at-risk-for-neurodevelopmental-disorders.aspx>.

  • Chicago

    Robertson, Sally. "Study explains why men are more at risk for neurodevelopmental disorders". News-Medical. https://www.news-medical.net/news/20180704/Study-explains-why-men-are-more-at-risk-for-neurodevelopmental-disorders.aspx. (accessed June 13, 2024).

  • Harvard

    Robertson, Sally. 2019. Study explains why men are more at risk for neurodevelopmental disorders. News-Medical, viewed 13 June 2024, https://www.news-medical.net/news/20180704/Study-explains-why-men-are-more-at-risk-for-neurodevelopmental-disorders.aspx.

Comments

The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
Post a new comment
Post

While we only use edited and approved content for Azthena answers, it may on occasions provide incorrect responses. Please confirm any data provided with the related suppliers or authors. We do not provide medical advice, if you search for medical information you must always consult a medical professional before acting on any information provided.

Your questions, but not your email details will be shared with OpenAI and retained for 30 days in accordance with their privacy principles.

Please do not ask questions that use sensitive or confidential information.

Read the full Terms & Conditions.

You might also like...
Study reveals ChatGPT's role in assisting autistic workers