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Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity
Volume 2013, Article ID 521563, 11 pages
Research Article

Sexual Dimorphism of Cardiovascular Ischemia Susceptibility Is Mediated by Heme Oxygenase

1Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Neuroscience, Faculty of Science and Informatics, University of Szeged, Közép Fasor 52, Szeged H 6726, Hungary
2Department of Biological Anthropology, University of Szeged, Közép Fasor 52, Szeged H 6726, Hungary
3Department of Cardiology, Medical University of Vienna, Waehringer Guertel 18-20, A-1090 Vienna, Austria

Received 3 March 2013; Accepted 25 June 2013

Academic Editor: Hong Pyo Kim

Copyright © 2013 Anikó Pósa et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


We investigated the gender differences in heme-oxygenase (HO) enzyme, which produces endogenous vascular protective carbon monoxide (CO). We studied (1) the activity and expression of HO enzymes in the left ventricle (LV) and aorta, (2) basal increase in basal blood pressure provoked by arginine vasopressine (AVP) in vivo, (3) the heart perfusion induced by AVP, (4) the ST segment depression provoked by adrenaline and 30 seconds later phentolamine, and (5) the aorta ring contraction induced by AVP in female and male Wistar rats. We found that HO activity and the expression of HO-1 and HO-2 were increased in female rat aorta and LV. We demonstrated that the basal blood pressure and administration of AVP provoked blood pressure response are increased in the males; the female myocardium was less sensitive towards angina. Both differences could be aggravated by the inhibition of HO. The aorta rings were more susceptible towards vasoconstriction by AVP in males; isolated heart perfusion decrease was higher in males. The HO inhibition aggravated the heart perfusion in both sexes. In conclusion, the increased HO activity and expression in females might play a role in the sexual dimorphism of cardiovascular ischemia susceptibility during the reproductive age.