Toward explaining why hepatitis B hits men harder than women

Nov 18, 2009
These are hepatitis B particles as viewed under an electron microscope. Credit: US Centers for Disease Control

Scientists in China are reporting discovery of unusual liver proteins, found only in males, that may help explain the long-standing mystery of why the hepatitis B virus (HBV) sexually discriminates -- hitting men harder than women. Their study has been published online in ACS' Journal of Proteome Research.

Shuhan Sun, Fang Wang and colleagues note that B seems to progress and cause liver damage faster in , with men the main victims of the virus's most serious complications -- cirrhosis and liver cancer. Men infected with HBV also are 6 times more likely than women to develop a chronic form of the disease. About 400 million people worldwide have chronic B, including a form that is highly infectious and can be transmitted through blood, saliva, and sexual contact.

In experiments with laboratory mice, the scientists found abnormal forms of apolipoprotein A-I (Apo A-I), a protein involved in fighting inflammation, in the livers of infected male mice but not infected females. They then identified abnormal forms of these Apo A-I proteins in blood of men infected with HBV, but not in women. In addition to explaining the gender differences, the proteins may provide important markers for tracking the progression of hepatitis B, the scientists suggest.

More information: "An altered pattern of apolipoprotein A-I is implicated in male chronic hepatitis B progression", Journal of Proteome Research, http://pubs.acs.org/stoken/presspac/presspac/full/10.1021/pr900593r

Source: American Chemical Society (news : web)

Explore further: Potential therapy for the Sudan strain of Ebola could help contain some future outbreaks

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Why men are more prone to liver cancer

Jan 15, 2008

A fundamental difference in the way males and females respond to chronic liver disease at the genetic level helps explain why men are more prone to liver cancer, according to MIT researchers.

Recommended for you

New tool identifies therapeutic proteins in a 'snap'

Aug 21, 2014

(Phys.org) —In human and bacterial cells, glycosylation – the chemical process of attaching complex sugar molecules to proteins – is as fundamental as it gets, affecting every biological mechanism from cell signaling ...

Treating pain by blocking the 'chili-pepper receptor'

Aug 20, 2014

Biting into a chili pepper causes a burning spiciness that is irresistible to some, but intolerable to others. Scientists exploring the chili pepper's effect are using their findings to develop a new drug ...

User comments : 0