Gender differences in kidney function

  • Ivan SabolićEmail author
  • Abdul R. Asif
  • Wolfgang E. Budach
  • Christoph Wanke
  • Andrew Bahn
  • Gerhard Burckhardt
Invited Review


Sex hormones influence the development of female (F) and male (M) specific traits and primarily affect the structure and function of gender-specific organs. Recent studies also indicated their important roles in regulating structure and/or function of nearly every tissue and organ in the mammalian body, including the kidneys, causing gender differences in a variety of characteristics. Clinical observations in humans and studies in experimental animals in vivo and in models in vitro have shown that renal structure and functions under various physiological, pharmacological, and toxicological conditions are different in M and F, and that these differences may be related to the sex-hormone-regulated expression and action of transporters in the apical and basolateral membrane of nephron epithelial cells. In this review we have collected published data on gender differences in renal functions, transporters and other related parameters, and present our own microarray data on messenger RNA expression for various transporters in the kidney cortex of M and F rats. With these data we would like to emphasize the importance of sex hormones in regulation of a variety of renal transport functions and to initiate further studies of gender-related differences in kidney structure and functions, which would enable us to better understand occurrence and development of various renal diseases, pharmacotherapy, and drug-induced nephrotoxicity in humans and animals.


Androgens Estrogens Drug transporters Organic anion transporters Organic cation transporters Renal transporters Sex differences Sexual dimorphism 



This work was supported by grant no. 0022-0222148-2146 (Mammalian Renal Transporters; Gender Differences and Effects of Toxic Metals) from the Ministry of Science, Education and Sports, Republic of Croatia (I.S.). We would like to thank Isabelle Keller, Christian Fuhrimann, and Edgar Baer (Novartis Pharma AG, CH-4057 Basel, Switzerland) for excellent technical assistance in performing microarray experiments.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ivan Sabolić
    • 1
    Email author
  • Abdul R. Asif
    • 3
  • Wolfgang E. Budach
    • 2
  • Christoph Wanke
    • 2
  • Andrew Bahn
    • 3
  • Gerhard Burckhardt
    • 3
  1. 1.Molecular ToxicologyInstitute for Medical Research and Occupational HealthZagrebCroatia
  2. 2.WKL-136.1.81, Novartis Pharma AGBaselSwitzerland
  3. 3.Abteilung Vegetative Physiologie und PathophysiologieGeorg-August-Universität GöttingenGöttingenGermany

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