The prevalence and progression of many illnesses, such as neurodegenerative and cardiovascular diseases, obesity, and cancer, vary between women and men, often in an age-dependent manner. A joint hallmark of these diseases is some type of mitochondrial dysfunction. While several mitochondrial proteins are known to be regulated by sex hormones, the levels of those proteins have not been systematically analyzed with regard to sex and age, and studies that consider sex and/or age differences in the protein expression are very rare. In this study, we compared the expression patterns of physiologically important mitochondrial proteins in female and male C57BL/6N mice of age cohorts frequently used in experiments. We found that sex-related differences in the expression of uncoupling proteins 1 and 3 (UCP1 and UCP3) occur in an age-dependent manner. The sex-specific expression of UCP1 and UCP3 in brown adipose tissue (BAT) was inversely correlated with differences in body weight. Expression of UCP4 in the brain, Complex I in the spleen, and Complex II in the brain and BAT was least affected by the sex of the mouse. We further demonstrated that there are serious limitations in using VDAC1 and actin as markers in western blot analyses, due to their sex- and age-specific fluctuations. Our results confirm that sex and age are important parameters and should be taken into account by researchers who examine the mechanistic aspects of diseases. HIGHLIGHTS: I.The levels of UCP1 and UCP3 protein expression differ between females and males in an age-dependent manner.II.Pre-pubertal expression of almost all proteins tested in this study does not depend on the sex of the mouse.III.Expression of VDAC1 and actin, which are often used as loading control proteins in western blot analysis, is tissue-specifically influenced by sex and age.
Adipose Tissue, Brownmetabolism Agingmetabolism Animals Brainmetabolism Female Male Mice, Inbred C57BL Mitochondrial Proteinsmetabolism Muscle, Skeletalmetabolism Sex Characteristics Spleenmetabolism