• Open Access

Accelerated aging-related transcriptome changes in the female prefrontal cortex

Authors

  • Yuan Yuan,

    1. Key Laboratory for Computational Biology, CAS-MPG Partner Institute for Computational Biology, Shanghai Institutes for Biological Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences, 320 Yue Yang Road, Shanghai 200031, China
    2. Department of Computer Science and Computer Engineering, La Trobe University, Melbourne, Vic. 3086, Australia
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  • Yi-Ping Phoebe Chen,

    1. Department of Computer Science and Computer Engineering, La Trobe University, Melbourne, Vic. 3086, Australia
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  • Jerome Boyd-Kirkup,

    1. Key Laboratory for Computational Biology, CAS-MPG Partner Institute for Computational Biology, Shanghai Institutes for Biological Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences, 320 Yue Yang Road, Shanghai 200031, China
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  • Philipp Khaitovich,

    1. Key Laboratory for Computational Biology, CAS-MPG Partner Institute for Computational Biology, Shanghai Institutes for Biological Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences, 320 Yue Yang Road, Shanghai 200031, China
    2. Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Deutscher Platz 6, D-04103 Leipzig, Germany
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  • Mehmet Somel

    1. Key Laboratory for Computational Biology, CAS-MPG Partner Institute for Computational Biology, Shanghai Institutes for Biological Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences, 320 Yue Yang Road, Shanghai 200031, China
    2. Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Deutscher Platz 6, D-04103 Leipzig, Germany
    3. Department of Integrative Biology, University of California–Berkeley, Berkeley, CA, USA
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Mehmet Somel, Key Laboratory for Computational Biology, CAS-MPG Partner Institute for Computational Biology, Shanghai Institutes for Biological Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences, 320 Yue Yang Road, Shanghai 200031, China. Tel.: +15106430060; fax: +15106436264; e-mail: somel.mehmet@gmail.com

Summary

Human female life expectancy is higher than that of males. Intriguingly, it has been reported that women display faster rates of age-related cognitive decline and a higher prevalence of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). To assess the molecular bases of these contradictory trends, we analyzed differences in expression changes with age between adult males and females, in four brain regions. In the superior frontal gyrus (SFG), a part of the prefrontal cortex, we observed manifest differences between the two sexes in the timing of age-related changes, that is, sexual heterochrony. Intriguingly, age-related expression changes predominantly occurred earlier, or at a faster pace, in females compared to men. These changes included decreased energy production and neural function and up-regulation of the immune response, all major features of brain aging. Furthermore, we found that accelerated expression changes in the female SFG correlated with expression changes observed in AD, as well as stress effects in the frontal cortex. Accelerated aging-related changes in the female SFG transcriptome may provide a link between a higher stress exposure or sensitivity in women and the higher prevalence of AD.

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