Did you know that a significant percentage of men lose the male sex chromosome in some of their cells as they age? About 40% of 70 year olds! This loss may explain why so many men die several years before women.
The loss of the male Y chromosome in some cells (mosaic loss) has health effects. It is associated with an increased risk of early death and some age-related diseases in men, such as heart disease and heart failure. This loss mainly happens in cells with a rapid turnover, such as blood cells, and does not happen in male reproductive cells.
A recent two part study in both mice and human males found that this Y chromosome loss resulted in heart muscle scarring (fibrosis), which led to increased risk of heart problems and heart failure. The researchers discuss a drug (pirfenidone) that may help with treatment.
Why is this happening? The researchers point out that as we age, more and more gene mutations are occurring, that is, the DNA of our cells accumulate mutations as we age. Some of them are due to our own choices, such as smoking, exposures to toxic chemicals, radiation, our lifestyle. Others are out of our control (e.g., aging).
From Science Daily: Loss of male sex chromosome leads to earlier death for men
The loss of the male sex chromosome as many men age causes the heart muscle to scar and can lead to deadly heart failure, new research from the University of Virginia School of Medicine shows. The finding may help explain why men die, on average, several years younger than women. ...continue reading "Many Men Lose the Male Sex Chromosome As They Age"