Aug 1, 2009
Gender equality and political correctness aside, Mother Nature has decided the answer: female neurons are more valuable.
Writing in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, a group of researchers found that nutrient deprivation of neurons produced sex-dependent effects. Male neurons more readily withered up and died, while female neurons did their best to conserve energy and stay alive. [...]
Robert Clark and colleagues at the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of University of Pittsburgh Medical Center examined whether this sex-dependent response in starvation could manifest in brain cells. They grew neurons taken separately from male and female rats or mice in lab dishes and subjected them to starvation over 72 hours.
After 24 hours, the male neurons experienced significantly more cell dysfunction (measured by analyzing cell respiration, which decreased by over 70% in male cells compared to 50% in female cells) and death. Visually, male neurons also displayed more abundant signs of autophagy, whereby a cell breaks down its components as a fuel source, while female neurons created more lipid droplets to store fat reserves.