Analysis of the transcriptome in hyperoxic lung injury and sex-specific alterations in gene expression

PLoS One. 2014 Jul 8;9(7):e101581. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0101581. eCollection 2014.


Exposure to high concentration of oxygen (hyperoxia) leads to lung injury in experimental animal models and plays a role in the pathogenesis of diseases such as Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS) and Bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD) in humans. The mechanisms responsible for sex differences in the susceptibility towards hyperoxic lung injury remain largely unknown. The major goal of this study was to characterize the changes in the pulmonary transcriptome following hyperoxia exposure and further elucidate the sex-specific changes. Male and female (8-10 wk) wild type (WT) (C57BL/6J) mice were exposed to hyperoxia (FiO2>0.95) and gene expression in lung tissues was studied at 48 h. A combination of fold change ≥1.4 and false discovery rate (FDR)<5% was used to define differentially expressed genes (DEGs). Overrepresentation of gene ontology terms representing biological processes and signaling pathway impact analysis (SPIA) was performed. Comparison of DEG profiles identified 327 genes unique to females, 585 unique to males and 1882 common genes. The major new findings of this study are the identification of new candidate genes of interest and the sex-specific transcriptomic changes in hyperoxic lung injury. We also identified DEGs involved in signaling pathways like MAP kinase and NF-kappa B which may explain the differences in sex-specific susceptibility to hyperoxic lung injury. These findings highlight changes in the pulmonary transcriptome and sex-specific differences in hyperoxic lung injury, and suggest new pathways, whose components could serve as sex-specific biomarkers and possible therapeutic targets for acute lung injury (ALI)/acute respiratory distress (ARDS) in humans.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Acute Lung Injury / etiology*
  • Acute Lung Injury / genetics
  • Acute Lung Injury / pathology
  • Amino Acid Transport System y+ / genetics
  • Amino Acid Transport System y+ / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Gene Expression Regulation*
  • Hyperoxia / complications*
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sex Factors
  • Signal Transduction
  • Transcriptome*


  • Amino Acid Transport System y+
  • Slc7a11 protein, mouse

Associated data

  • GEO/GSE51039