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Sexual dimorphism in the human olfactory bulb: females have more neurons and glial cells than males.

Oliveira-Pinto AV, Santos RM, Coutinho RA, Oliveira LM, Santos GB, Alho AT, Leite RE, Farfel JM, Suemoto CK, Grinberg LT, Pasqualucci CA, Jacob-Filho W, Lent R - PLoS ONE (2014)

Bottom Line: Female bulbs weighed 0.132 g in average, while male bulbs weighed 0.137 g, a non-significant difference; however, the total number of cells was 16.2 million in females, and 9.2 million in males, a significant difference of 43.2%.The number of non-neuronal cells also proved higher in women than in men: 9.3 million and 5.7 million, respectively, a significant difference of 38.7%.However, the reported advantage of women as compared to men may stimulate future work on sex dimorphism of synaptic microcircuitry in the olfactory bulb.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Institute of Biomedical Sciences, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

ABSTRACT
Sex differences in the human olfactory function reportedly exist for olfactory sensitivity, odorant identification and memory, and tasks in which odors are rated based on psychological features such as familiarity, intensity, pleasantness, and others. Which might be the neural bases for these behavioral differences? The number of cells in olfactory regions, and especially the number of neurons, may represent a more accurate indicator of the neural machinery than volume or weight, but besides gross volume measures of the human olfactory bulb, no systematic study of sex differences in the absolute number of cells has yet been undertaken. In this work, we investigate a possible sexual dimorphism in the olfactory bulb, by quantifying postmortem material from 7 men and 11 women (ages 55-94 years) with the isotropic fractionator, an unbiased and accurate method to estimate absolute cell numbers in brain regions. Female bulbs weighed 0.132 g in average, while male bulbs weighed 0.137 g, a non-significant difference; however, the total number of cells was 16.2 million in females, and 9.2 million in males, a significant difference of 43.2%. The number of neurons in females reached 6.9 million, being no more than 3.5 million in males, a difference of 49.3%. The number of non-neuronal cells also proved higher in women than in men: 9.3 million and 5.7 million, respectively, a significant difference of 38.7%. The same differences remained when corrected for mass. Results demonstrate a sex-related difference in the absolute number of total, neuronal and non-neuronal cells, favoring women by 40-50%. It is conceivable that these differences in quantitative cellularity may have functional impact, albeit difficult to infer how exactly this would be, without knowing the specific circuits cells make. However, the reported advantage of women as compared to men may stimulate future work on sex dimorphism of synaptic microcircuitry in the olfactory bulb.

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Average number of cells in the olfactory bulb of men and women.Blue bars indicate the mean number of cells in males, pink bars for females. Significant differences were found for the total number of cells, as well as for the number of neurons and non-neuronal cells. In all cases, women outnumbered men. Error bars indicate standard deviation. * p<0.05; ** p<0.01.
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pone-0111733-g002: Average number of cells in the olfactory bulb of men and women.Blue bars indicate the mean number of cells in males, pink bars for females. Significant differences were found for the total number of cells, as well as for the number of neurons and non-neuronal cells. In all cases, women outnumbered men. Error bars indicate standard deviation. * p<0.05; ** p<0.01.

Mentions: Women showed higher absolute number of cells than men: 16.2 million, against 9.2 million in males, a significant difference of 43.2% (pā€Š=ā€Š0.005) (Figure 2).


Sexual dimorphism in the human olfactory bulb: females have more neurons and glial cells than males.

Oliveira-Pinto AV, Santos RM, Coutinho RA, Oliveira LM, Santos GB, Alho AT, Leite RE, Farfel JM, Suemoto CK, Grinberg LT, Pasqualucci CA, Jacob-Filho W, Lent R - PLoS ONE (2014)

Average number of cells in the olfactory bulb of men and women.Blue bars indicate the mean number of cells in males, pink bars for females. Significant differences were found for the total number of cells, as well as for the number of neurons and non-neuronal cells. In all cases, women outnumbered men. Error bars indicate standard deviation. * p<0.05; ** p<0.01.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4221136&req=5

pone-0111733-g002: Average number of cells in the olfactory bulb of men and women.Blue bars indicate the mean number of cells in males, pink bars for females. Significant differences were found for the total number of cells, as well as for the number of neurons and non-neuronal cells. In all cases, women outnumbered men. Error bars indicate standard deviation. * p<0.05; ** p<0.01.
Mentions: Women showed higher absolute number of cells than men: 16.2 million, against 9.2 million in males, a significant difference of 43.2% (pā€Š=ā€Š0.005) (Figure 2).

Bottom Line: Female bulbs weighed 0.132 g in average, while male bulbs weighed 0.137 g, a non-significant difference; however, the total number of cells was 16.2 million in females, and 9.2 million in males, a significant difference of 43.2%.The number of non-neuronal cells also proved higher in women than in men: 9.3 million and 5.7 million, respectively, a significant difference of 38.7%.However, the reported advantage of women as compared to men may stimulate future work on sex dimorphism of synaptic microcircuitry in the olfactory bulb.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Institute of Biomedical Sciences, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

ABSTRACT
Sex differences in the human olfactory function reportedly exist for olfactory sensitivity, odorant identification and memory, and tasks in which odors are rated based on psychological features such as familiarity, intensity, pleasantness, and others. Which might be the neural bases for these behavioral differences? The number of cells in olfactory regions, and especially the number of neurons, may represent a more accurate indicator of the neural machinery than volume or weight, but besides gross volume measures of the human olfactory bulb, no systematic study of sex differences in the absolute number of cells has yet been undertaken. In this work, we investigate a possible sexual dimorphism in the olfactory bulb, by quantifying postmortem material from 7 men and 11 women (ages 55-94 years) with the isotropic fractionator, an unbiased and accurate method to estimate absolute cell numbers in brain regions. Female bulbs weighed 0.132 g in average, while male bulbs weighed 0.137 g, a non-significant difference; however, the total number of cells was 16.2 million in females, and 9.2 million in males, a significant difference of 43.2%. The number of neurons in females reached 6.9 million, being no more than 3.5 million in males, a difference of 49.3%. The number of non-neuronal cells also proved higher in women than in men: 9.3 million and 5.7 million, respectively, a significant difference of 38.7%. The same differences remained when corrected for mass. Results demonstrate a sex-related difference in the absolute number of total, neuronal and non-neuronal cells, favoring women by 40-50%. It is conceivable that these differences in quantitative cellularity may have functional impact, albeit difficult to infer how exactly this would be, without knowing the specific circuits cells make. However, the reported advantage of women as compared to men may stimulate future work on sex dimorphism of synaptic microcircuitry in the olfactory bulb.

Show MeSH