Open Access Research article

Faster rates of post-puberty kidney deterioration in males is correlated with elevated oxidative stress in males vs females at early puberty

Li Li1*, Susanne N Boehn1, Xiaolei Yu1, Qingqin Zhang2, Marc Kenzelmann3, Dieter Techel4, Salah A Mohamed5, Petra Jakob1, Bettina Kraenzlin1, Sigrid Hoffmann1 and Norbert Gretz1

Author Affiliations

1 Medical Research Center, University of Heidelberg, Theodor-Kutzer-Ufer, 68167 Mannheim, Germany

2 The First Affiliated Hospital, Xinxiang Medical College, 453003 Xinxiang, China

3 Department of Cellular and Molecular Biology, German Cancer Research Center, Im Neuenheimer Feld 280, 69120 Heidelberg, Germany

4 Klinikum Bremen-Mitte, 28177 Bremen, Germany

5 University Clinic SH-Campus Luebeck, Department of Cardiac Surgery, Ratzeburger Allee 160, 23538 Luebeck, Germany

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BMC Genomics 2007, 8:221  doi:10.1186/1471-2164-8-221

Published: 9 July 2007



Post-puberty deterioration of kidneys is more rapid in males than in females. To reveal the underlying molecular mechanisms for this difference, we analyzed gender-dependent gene expression in kidneys of three groups of 36 day-old rats.


The number of genes exhibiting gender-dependent expression was highly influenced by the genetic background of the rat group examined. 373, 288 and 79 genes showed differential gene expression between males and females (p = 0.001) in US, Mhm and Mhm*BN rats, respectively. Of all gender dependently expressed genes, only 39 genes were differentially expressed in all tested groups and the direction of expression change was the same for those genes for all groups. The gene expression profile suggests higher metabolic and transport activities, enhanced cell proliferation, elevated oxidative stress, and altered vascular biology in males. Furthermore, elevated levels of superoxide anion (two- to three-fold) in males compared to females were detected at early puberty, but neither at pre-puberty nor at late puberty/early adulthood.


Our data suggest that early puberty, with gender-related elevation in oxidative stress in males, is a key compromising factor on kidneys in males.