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Could sex/gender differences in ACE2 expression in the lungs contribute to the large gender disparity in the morbidity and mortality of patients infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus?
Gregor Majdič, 2020, other scientific articles

Abstract: COVID-19 morbidity and mortality have significant gender disparities, with higher prevalence and mortality in men. SARS-CoV-2 enters the lungs through the ACE2 enzyme, a member of the renin-angiotensin system (RAS). Although there are no data for the lung, the expressions of RAS components in other tissues are modulated by sex hormones, androgens, and estrogens. However, there are no data on sex-specific differences in ACE2 expression. If there is a sex difference in the expression of ACE2 in the lung, this could theoretically explain the gender disparity in COVID-19 disease. More importantly, although modulation of ACE2 will certainly not provide a cure for the COVID-19 disease, modulation of ACE2 by sex hormone modulators, if they affect the expression of ACE2, could potentially be developed into a supportive therapy for COVID-19 patients.
Keywords: lung, ACE2, COVID-19, coronavirus, sex difference, androgens
Published in DKUM: 12.11.2020; Views: 579; Downloads: 235
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Robust sex differences in jigsaw puzzle solving : are boys really better in most visuospatial tasks?
Vid Kocijan, Marina Horvat, Gregor Majdič, 2017, original scientific article

Abstract: Sex differences are consistently reported in different visuospatial tasks with men usually performing better in mental rotation tests while women are better on tests for memory of object locations. In the present study, we investigated sex differences in solving jigsaw puzzles in children. In total 22 boys and 24 girls were tested using custom build tablet application representing a jigsaw puzzle consisting of 25 pieces and featuring three different pictures. Girls outperformed boys in solving jigsaw puzzles regardless of the picture. Girls were faster than boys in solving the puzzle, made less incorrect moves with the pieces of the puzzle, and spent less time moving the pieces around the tablet. It appears that the strategy of solving the jigsaw puzzle was the main factor affecting differences in success, as girls tend to solve the puzzle more systematically while boys performed more trial and error attempts, thus having more incorrect moves with the puzzle pieces. Results of this study suggest a very robust sex difference in solving the jigsaw puzzle with girls outperforming boys by a large margin.
Keywords: children, sex difference, visuo-spatial tasks, jigsaw puzzle
Published in DKUM: 13.11.2017; Views: 1286; Downloads: 209
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Social isolation during puberty affects female sexual behavior in mice
Jasmina Kerčmar, Stuart Tobet, Gregor Majdič, 2014, original scientific article

Abstract: Exposure to stress during puberty can lead to long-term behavioral alterations in adult rodents coincident with sex steroid hormone-dependent brain remodeling and reorganization. Social isolation is a stress for social animals like mice, but little is known about the effects of such stress during adolescence on later reproductive behaviors. The present study examined sexual behavior of ovariectomized, estradiol and progesterone primed female mice that were individually housed from 25 days of age until testing at approximately 95 days, or individually housed from day 25 until day 60 (during puberty), followed by housing in social groups. Mice in these isolated groups were compared to females that were group housed throughout the experiment. Receptive sexual behaviors of females and behaviors of stimulus males were recorded. Females housed in social groups displayed greater levels of receptive behaviors in comparison to both socially isolated groups. Namely, social females had higher lordosis quotients (LQs) and more often displayed stronger lordosis postures in comparison to isolated females. No differences between female groups were observed in stimulus male sexual behavior suggesting that female “attractiveness” was not affected by their social isolation. Females housed in social groups had fewer cells containing immunoreactive estrogen receptor (ER) α in the anteroventral periventricular nucleus (AVPV) and in the ventromedial nucleus of the hypothalamus (VMH) than both isolated groups. These results suggest that isolation during adolescence affects female sexual behavior and re-socialization for 1 month in adulthood is insufficient to rescue lordosis behavior from the effects of social isolation during the pubertal period.
Keywords: mice, social isolation, female sexual behavior, estrogen receptor α, puberty, adolescence
Published in DKUM: 10.07.2017; Views: 1443; Downloads: 450
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Haploinsufficiency for steroidogenic factor 1 affects maternal behavior in mice
Tanja Španić, Neža Grgurevič, Gregor Majdič, 2016, original scientific article

Abstract: Steroidogenic factor 1 (SF-1), officially designated NR5A1, is essential for gonadal and adrenal development and for the normal structure of the ventromedial hypothalamus (VMH), as demonstrated by SF-1 knockout mice (SF-1 KO), but much less is known about the possible effects of haploinsufficiency of the SF-1 gene. In the present study, maternal behavior in SF-1 KO heterozygous mice was evaluated. Behavioral tests revealed that SF-1 KO heterozygous females have impaired maternal behavior. In comparison to wild-type (WT) females, SF-1 KO heterozygous females retrieved significantly fewer pups into their nests, latency to retrieve and crouch over the pups was longer, and their nests were lower quality. As suggested by previous studies full dosage of SF-1 gene is needed for appropriate stress response and expression of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) in the brain, and this might present a mechanism through which maternal behavior in SF-1 KO heterozygous females is impaired.
Keywords: mice, stress, steroidogenic factor 1, maternal behavior
Published in DKUM: 10.07.2017; Views: 1241; Downloads: 370
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Relationship between genome and epigenome - challenges and requirements for future research
Geneviève Almouzni, Neža Grgurevič, Gregor Majdič, Uroš Potočnik, Janez Ilaš, 2014, other scientific articles

Abstract: Understanding the links between genetic, epigenetic and non-genetic factors throughout the lifespan and across generations and their role in disease susceptibility and disease progression offer entirely new avenues and solutions to major problems in our society. To overcome the numerous challenges, we have come up with nine major conclusions to set the vision for future policies and research agendas at the European level.
Keywords: genome, epigenome, microbiome, environment
Published in DKUM: 28.06.2017; Views: 1105; Downloads: 361
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Novel insights into the downstream pathways and targets controlled by transcription factors CREM in the testis
Rok Košir, Peter Juvan, Martina Perše, Tomaž Büdefeld, Gregor Majdič, Martina Fink, Paolo Sassone-Corsi, Damjana Rozman, 2012, original scientific article

Abstract: The essential role of the Crem gene in normal sperm development is widely accepted and is confirmed by azoospermia in male mice lacking the Crem gene. The exact number of genes affected by Crem absence is not known, however a large difference has been observed recently between the estimated number of differentially expressed genes found in Crem knock-out (KO) mice compared to the number of gene loci bound by CREM. We therefore re-examined global gene expression in male mice lacking the Crem gene using whole genome transcriptomeanalysis with Affymetrix microarrays and compared the lists of differentially expressed genes from Crem-/- mice to a dataset of genes where binding of CREM was determined by Chip-seq. We determined the global effect ofCREM on spermatogenesis as well as distinguished between primary and secondary effects of the CREM absence. We demonstrated that the absence of Crem deregulates over 4700 genes in KO testis. Among them are 101 genes associated with spermatogenesis 41 of which are bound by CREM and are deregulated in Crem KO testis. Absence of several of these genes in mouse models has proven their importance for normal spermatogenesis and male fertility. Our study showed that the absence of Crem plays a more important role on different aspects of spermatogenesis as estimated previously, with itsimpact ranging from apoptosis induction to deregulation of major circadian clock genes, steroidogenesis and the cell-cell junction dynamics. Several new genes important for normal spermatogenesis and fertility are down-regulated inKO testis and are therefore possible novel targets of CREM.
Keywords: spermatogenesis, genetics, Crem, mice
Published in DKUM: 19.06.2017; Views: 1076; Downloads: 363
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Tjaša Omerzu, 2016, master's thesis

Abstract: Raziskava je privedla do zaključka, da obstaja pomembna povezava med stresom in razvojem patologij tako na telesnem kot duševnem področju, še posebej pa so raziskave v zadnjem času začele izpostavljati pomen stresa pred rojstvom. Kot kažejo študije, stres pred rojstvom vpliva tako neposredno na perinatalno obdobje (nižja telesna teža in višina ob rojstvu, nedonošenost) kot tudi kasneje na razvoj v otroštvu in odraslosti. Namen magistrske naloge je bil ugotoviti, ali obstaja razlika v izraženi agresivnosti, afektivnem temperamentu, nedonošenosti, uživanju PAS, spolnem vedenju, v indeksu telesne mase in ohranjanju telesne mase med udeleženci, ki so bili izpostavljeni vojni za Slovenijo (rojeni med 30. 6. 1991 in 8. 3. 1992) in kontrolnima skupinama, ki sta bili rojeni pred vojno in po njej. Hkrati je bil narejen tudi pregled razlik glede na tromesečja in interakcijo spola in skupine rojstva. V raziskavo je bilo zajetih 773 udeležencev, študentov različnih smeri treh univerz v Sloveniji. Uporabljeni so bili vprašalnik TEMPS-A za preverjanje izraženosti afektivnega temperamenta, vprašalnik agresivnosti Bussa in Perryja ter uvodni vprašalnik. Rezultati so pokazali, da imajo udeleženci, ki so bili izpostavljeni stresu pred rojstvom, bolj izražen anksiozni temperament. Prav tako se je pokazalo, da imajo moški, ki so bili izpostavljeni stresu pred rojstvom, bolj izražen splošni faktor agresivnosti, medtem ko imajo ženske, ki so bile izpostavljene stresu pred rojstvom, manj izraženo jezo v primerjavi s kontrolnima skupinama. Ženske, ki so bile stresu izpostavljene v tretjem tromesečju nosečnosti, so imele višje izraženo jezo v primerjavi s preostalimi skupinami. Oba spola sta v primerjavi s kontrolnima skupinama imela hitreje tudi prvi spolni odnos. Statistično pomembnih razlik v drugih konstruktih nismo našli. Ugotovitve naše raziskave kažejo, da ima stres pred rojstvom večji učinek na psihološko kot fiziološko delovanje posameznika in da se kot kritični okni za razvoj sprememb in disfunkcij pojavljata prvo in tretje tromesečje nosečnosti. Ker se nakazujejo tendence v razlikah med skupinami, bi jih bilo smiselno raziskati in nadgraditi s fiziološkimi raziskavami.
Keywords: stres pred rojstvom, afektivni temperament, agresivnost, nedonošenost, spolno vedenje
Published in DKUM: 29.03.2016; Views: 2252; Downloads: 224
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