Y chromosome is moving out of sex determination shadow

Cell Biosci. 2022 Jan 4;12(1):4. doi: 10.1186/s13578-021-00741-y.


Although sex hormones play a key role in sex differences in susceptibility, severity, outcomes, and response to therapy of different diseases, sex chromosomes are also increasingly recognized as an important factor. Studies demonstrated that the Y chromosome is not a 'genetic wasteland' and can be a useful genetic marker for interpreting various male-specific physiological and pathophysiological characteristics. Y chromosome harbors male‑specific genes, which either solely or in cooperation with their X-counterpart, and independent or in conjunction with sex hormones have a considerable impact on basic physiology and disease mechanisms in most or all tissues development. Furthermore, loss of Y chromosome and/or aberrant expression of Y chromosome genes cause sex differences in disease mechanisms. With the launch of the human proteome project (HPP), the association of Y chromosome proteins with pathological conditions has been increasingly explored. In this review, the involvement of Y chromosome genes in male-specific diseases such as prostate cancer and the cases that are more prevalent in men, such as cardiovascular disease, neurological disease, and cancers, has been highlighted. Understanding the molecular mechanisms underlying Y chromosome-related diseases can have a significant impact on the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of diseases.

Keywords: Cancer; Diseases; Germ cell tumors; Hepatocellular carcinoma; Inflammation; Male infertility; Neurodegenerative disorders; Prostate cancer; Sex differences; Y chromosome.

Publication types

  • Review