alexa Differential Effect of Active Smoking on Gene Expression in Male and Female Smokers

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Differential Effect of Active Smoking on Gene Expression in Male and Female Smokers

Smoking is the second leading cause of preventable death in the United States. Cohort epidemiological studies have demonstrated that women are more vulnerable to cigarette-smoking induced diseases than their male counterparts, however, the molecular basis of these differences has remained unknown. In this study, we explored if there were differences in the gene expression patterns between male and female smokers, and how these patterns might reflect different sex-specific responses to the stress of smoking. Using whole genome microarray gene expression profiling, we found that a substantial number of oxidant related genes were expressed in both male and female smokers, however, smoking-responsive genes did indeed differ greatly between male and female smokers. Gene set enrichment analysis (GSEA) against reference oncogenic signature gene sets identified a large number of oncogenic pathway gene-sets that were significantly altered in female smokers compared to male smokers. In addition, functional annotation with Ingenuity Pathway Analysis (IPA) identified smoking-correlated genes associated with biological functions in male and female smokers that are directly relevant to well-known smoking related pathologies. However, these relevant biological functions were strikingly overrepresented in female smokers compared to male smokers. IPA network analysis with the functional categories of immune and inflammatory response gene products suggested potential interactions between smoking response and female hormones. Our results demonstrate a striking dichotomy between male and female gene expression responses to smoking. This is the first genome-wide expression study to compare the sex-specific impacts of smoking at a molecular level and suggests a novel potential connection between sex hormone signaling and smoking-induced diseases in female smokers.

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