X chromosome inactivation skewing is common in advanced carotid atherosclerotic lesions in females and predicts secondary peripheral artery events

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Abstract

BACKGROUND AND AIM: Sex differences in atherosclerosis have been described with female plaques being mostly perceived as stable and fibrous. Sex-specific mechanisms such as mosaic loss of the Y chromosome in men have been linked to cardiovascular health. In women, X-linked mechanisms such as X chromosome inactivation (XCI) skewing is common in several tissues. Yet, information on the role of XCI in female atherosclerotic plaques is lacking. Here, we investigated the presence of XCI skewing in advanced atherosclerotic lesions and its association with cardiovascular risk factors, histological plaque data, and clinical data.

METHODS: XCI skewing was quantified in 154 atherosclerotic plaque and 55 blood DNA samples of women included in the Athero-Express study. The skewing status was determined performing the HUMARA assay. Then, we studied the relationship of XCI skewing in female plaque and cardiovascular risk factors using regression models. In addition, we studied if plaque XCI predicted plaque composition, and adverse events during 3-years follow-up using Cox proportional hazard models.

RESULTS: XCI skewing was detected in 76 of 154 (49.4%) plaques and in 27 of 55 (67%) blood samples. None of the clinical risk factors were associated with plaque skewing. Plaque skewing was more often detected in plaques with a plaque hemorrhage (OR [95% CI]: 1.44 [1.06-1.98], P = 0.02). Moreover, skewed plaques were not associated with a higher incidence of composite and major events but were specifically associated with peripheral artery events during a 3-year follow-up period in a multivariate model (HR [95%CI]: 1.46 [1.09-1.97]; P = 0.007).

CONCLUSIONS: XCI skewing is common in carotid plaques of females and is predictive for the occurrence of peripheral artery events within 3 years after carotid endarterectomy.

Original languageEnglish
Article number43
Number of pages12
JournalBiology of Sex Differences
Volume14
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 5 Jul 2023

Keywords

  • Atherosclerosis
  • Carotid
  • Peripheral
  • Sex-differences
  • Vascular
  • XCI skewing

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