Glycoscience research on sex-related factors of thrombosis onset


Project Summary

Principal Investigator

Kyoko Kojima-Aikawa (Faculty of Core Research Natural Science Division)

Yoshiki YAMAGUCHI (Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Tohoku Medical and Pharmaceutical University)
Sabine Sandra Stephanie GOURAUD (Department of Natural Sciences, International Christian University)

Research period FY 2022 -
SDGs Goals 3(Good Health and Well-being)
5(Gender Equality)

Outline of Research

The incidences of certain pathological conditions differ between men and women, and the clinical courses can also differ between them even when the incidences are similar. As a result of the growing awareness and understanding of these facts, a new  field of research, gender differences in medicine, which combines both clinical and basic research, is developing . Elucidating the causes of gender differences in pathological conditions is important for devising more appropriate and effective treatment strategies and is a research subject of high social significance. In Japan, many gender data analyses have been conducted during clinical studies of Japanese patients. However, research at the molecular level, which enables a biological understanding of the factors that cause sex differences, has lagged.

The female hormone estrogen is known to be involved in the proper functioning of female reproductive organs and in breast development . Three types of receptors have been found for estrogen: ER α and Erβ, nuclear receptors (ERs),  and GPER, a G protein–coupled receptor. These are expressed at different levels in cells of various tissues not only in the mammary gland, ovary, and uterus but also throughout the body, which suggests that estrogen may act on a wider range of organs. In this study, we will examine  the quantitative and qualitative changes that estrogen-induced synthesis of glycoproteins  undergoes in blood and saliva, and find a link between these changes and  the sex differences observed in thrombosis and oral diseases. 

Research Reports

Using cultured cells derived from human liver and rat salivary glands, we detected estrogen-stimulated changes in glycan structures of glycoproteins through lectin blotting. The results showed that the addition of terminal galactose and branching N-acetylglucosamine residues to the N-glycans caused an alteration in the glycoproteins, which indicates that the expression of several glycosyltransferases may be affected by estrogen stimulation. 

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