During the COVID-19 pandemic, it became clear that men were disproportionately impacted by the disease. Males make up much of the 75% of patients in intensive care units, and the proportion of men who die is also higher than that of women. The researchers identified a link between LOY and the likelihood of severe COVID-19 in the current investigation.
“We studied blood samples taken from over 200 male patients in intensive care units between the beginning of 2020 and the summer of 2021. “Our analyses showed that LOY was linked both to the severity of the disease based on the WHO grading, and to the risk of dying,” says Bożena Bruhn-Olszewska, a researcher at Uppsala University.
Blood clot complications were also associated with a higher percentage of LOY in various types of white blood cells. Furthermore, a greater proportion of cells expressing LOY was found to be transitory.
“We had the opportunity to analyze samples taken from some of the patients three to six months after they were discharged from the intensive care unit. In these samples, the proportion of cells with LOY had drastically decreased. As far as we know, this is the first time anyone has shown that LOY has dynamic properties linked to an acute infectious disease,” explains Hanna Davies, a researcher at Uppsala University.
Y-Chromosome Loss as a Biomarker
The researchers believe that LOY could be utilized as a biomarker to indicate which patients are at risk of developing severe COVID-19 disease.
“Our results contribute to a better understanding of the importance that LOY has for susceptibility to the disease, especially about the functioning of the immune system. We also believe that the new knowledge may be relevant to other common viral infections that are more serious for men than for women,” says Jan Dumanski, Professor at Uppsala University who has led the study.
It can be concluded that several data points in the study support the idea that LOY has a role in the development of severe COVID-19. A larger fraction of LOY may be associated with decreased lung function, such as reduced oxygenation.
- Loss of Y in leukocytes as a risk factor for critical COVID-19 in men
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