Approaching sex differences in cardiovascular non-coding RNA research.
- Cardiovascular Research Unit
Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the biggest cause of sickness and mortality worldwide in both males and females. Clinical statistics demonstrate clear sex differences in risk, prevalence, mortality rates, and response to treatment for different entities of CVD. The reason for this remains poorly understood. Non-coding RNAs (ncRNAs) are emerging as key mediators and biomarkers of CVD. Similarly, current knowledge on differential regulation, expression, and pathology-associated function of ncRNAs between sexes is minimal. Here, we provide a state-of-the-art overview of what is known on sex differences in ncRNA research in CVD as well as discussing the contributing biological factors to this sex dimorphism including genetic and epigenetic factors and sex hormone regulation of transcription. We then focus on the experimental models of CVD and their use in translational ncRNA research in the cardiovascular field. In particular, we want to highlight the importance of considering sex of the cellular and pre-clinical models in clinical studies in ncRNA research and to carefully consider the appropriate experimental models most applicable to human patient populations. Moreover, we aim to identify sex-specific targets for treatment and diagnosis for the biggest socioeconomic health problem globally.