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This Week’s Articles in PresS Highlights

Bethesda, Md. (August 17, 2015)—The American Physiological Society Articles in PresS are the latest findings in physiology and the health sciences published ahead-of-print. Read this week’s highlights on how the solution used to culture test-tube embryos can lead to increased risk of cardiovascular disease later in life and the surprising ways the Y chromosome can influence disease risk in men. 

Melatonin Can Prevent Cardiovascular Disease Risk in Test-Tube Babies

Solutions used to culture embryos may be a cause of increased disease risk

Studies are revealing that children born through assisted reproductive technologies (ART) have a higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease. The increased risk is due to changes in the expression of the genes important for vascular health. These studies suggest that the composition of the solutions in which embryo fertilization and culturing are done is to blame. A new study in the American Journal of Physiology—Heart and Circulatory Physiology reports that adding the hormone melatonin to the culture solution prevented the altered gene expression induced by ART in mice. Melatonin is involved in ovarian function and egg maturation and has been observed to improve fertilization success of ART. These findings support that elevated cardiovascular risk in children of ART can be prevented by modifying the embryo culture solution, the researchers wrote.

The study “Prevention of vascular dysfunction and arterial hypertension in mice generated by assisted reproductive technologies by addition of melatonin to culture media” is published ahead-of-print in the American Journal of Physiology—Heart and Circulatory Physiology.

The Y Chromosome Is Much More than a One-Trick Pony

New review article summarizes male chromosome’s role in cardiovascular and immune function, cancer

The role of sex in human disease is a growing area of research.  Although estrogen (in females) and androgens (in males) are often seen as possible causes for such differences, sex chromosomes, including the male-specific Y chromosome, may also play a role. However, it has been difficult to understand how the Y chromosome could contribute to disease in men, in part because it is much more difficult to sequence than all other chromosomes. Thanks to advances in Y chromosome sequencing, research now suggests broad involvement of the chromosome beyond the few specialized functions related to male reproduction that it is usually linked to, according to the authors of a new review article published in Physiological Genomics.

“Recent progress in sequencing has finally made a better understanding of chromosome Y genes possible. This has revealed that chromosome Y genes are broadly expressed in many tissues outside of the testes and correspond to regulators of fundamental processes such as transcription, translation and protein stability,” explained study co-author Christian Deschepper, MD. “Evidence is also mounting that chromosome Y variants may relate to diversity in traits as varied as cardiovascular functions, immune cell properties or cancer susceptibility.”  According to study co-author Jeremy Prokop, PhD, “This review addresses the current status of chromosome Y involvement in human diseases and highlights the animal models needed to better understand the functions and contributions of the chromosome Y genes. We hope this might lead to the development of treatment strategies for human diseases with chromosome Y involvement.”

The study “Chromosome Y genetic variants: impact in animal models and on human disease” is published ahead-of-print in Physiological Genomics.

NOTE TO JOURNALISTS: To schedule an interview with a member of the research team, please contact the APS Communications Office or 301-634-7209. Find more research highlights in the APS Press Room.

Physiology is the study of how molecules, cells, tissues and organs function in health and disease. Established in 1887, the American Physiological Society (APS) was the first U.S. society in the biomedical sciences field. The Society represents more than 10,500 members and publishes 15 peer-reviewed journals with a worldwide readership.



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CPAP Works: Common Sleep Apnea Treatment Reverses Brain Function Changes Associated with Heart Disease

Released September 1, 2015 - CPAP machines are a common treatment for obstructive sleep apnea, but some people have a hard time adjusting and do not continue the treatment or are reluctant to start. A new study shows that CPAP is an effective sleep apnea treatment, finding that it reverses health changes that result in cardiovascular disease if the disorder is left untreated. This study is highlighted as one of this month’s “best of the best” as part of the APSselect program.

One Protein, Many Fascinating Roles

Released September 2, 2015 - Endothelin is a peptide produced by cells in the blood vessels and has powerful vessel-constricting effects. Although mainly associated with its role in blood pressure control and cardiovascular diseases, it continues to appear in other physiological functions and diseases. This symposium, taking place at 14th International Conference on Endothelin: Physiology, Pathophysiology and Therapeutics in Savannah, Ga., will discuss its roles in diabetes, cognitive decline, sickle cell disease and skin pigmentation.