Mitochondria and Sex-Specific Cardiac Function

  • Rosa Vona
  • Barbara Ascione
  • Walter Malorni
  • Elisabetta StrafaceEmail author
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 1065)


The focus of this chapter is the gender differences in mitochondria in cardiovascular disease. There is broad evidence suggesting that some of the gender differences in cardiovascular outcome may be partially related to differences in mitochondrial biology (Ventura–Clapier R, Moulin M, Piquereau J, Lemaire C, Mericskay M, Veksler V, Garnier A, Clin Sci (Lond) 131(9):803–822, 2017)). Mitochondrial disorders are causally affected by mutations in either nuclear or mitochondrial genes involved in the synthesis of respiratory chain subunits or in their posttranslational control. This can be due to mutations of the mtDNA which are transmitted by the mother or mutations in the nuclear DNA. Because natural selection on mitochondria operates only in females, mutations may have had more deleterious effects in males than in females (Ventura–Clapier R, Moulin M, Piquereau J, Lemaire C, Mericskay M, Veksler V, Garnier A, Clin Sci (Lond) 131(9):803–822, 2017; Camara AK, Lesnefsky EJ, Stowe DF. Antioxid Redox Signal 13(3):279–347, 2010). As mitochondrial mutations can affect all tissues, they are responsible for a large panel of pathologies including neuromuscular disorders, encephalopathies, metabolic disorders, cardiomyopathies, neuropathies, renal dysfunction, etc. Many of these pathologies present sex/gender specificity. Thus, alleviating or preventing mitochondrial dysfunction will contribute to mitigating the severity or progression of the development of diseases. Here, we present evidence for the involvement of mitochondria in the sex specificity of cardiovascular disorders.


Mitochondrial biology Mutations of mtDNA Mitochondrial dysfunction Krebs cycle Nuclear respiratory factor Apoptotic bodies Redox messenger Reactive oxygen species Calcium overload Heart failure Ischemic preconditioning Autophagy Mitophagy Dynamin Aging heart 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rosa Vona
    • 1
  • Barbara Ascione
    • 1
  • Walter Malorni
    • 1
  • Elisabetta Straface
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Biomarkers Unit, Center for Gender-Specific Medicine, Istituto Superiore di SanitàRomeItaly

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