Sex-Based Differences in Cardiometabolic Biomarkers

Jeanney Lew, Monika Sanghavi, Colby R. Ayers, Darren K McGuire, Torbjørn Omland, Dorothee Atzler, Maria O. Gore, Ian J Neeland, Jarett D Berry, Amit Khera, Anand K Rohatgi, James A de Lemos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

97 Scopus citations


Background: Few data are available comparing cardiovascular disease (CVD) biomarker profiles between women and men in the general population. We analyzed sex-based differences in multiple biomarkers reflecting distinct pathophysiological pathways, accounting for differences between women and men in CVD risk factors, body composition, and cardiac morphology. Methods: A cross-sectional analysis was performed using data from the Dallas Heart Study, a multiethnic population-based study. Associations between sex and 30 distinct biomarkers representative of 6 pathophysiological categories were evaluated using multivariable linear regression adjusting for age, race, traditional CVD risk factors, kidney function, insulin resistance, MRI and dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry measures of body composition and fat distribution, and left ventricular mass. Results: After excluding participants with CVD, the study population included 3439 individuals, mean age 43 years, 56% women, and 52% black. Significant sex-based differences were seen in multiple categories of biomarkers, including lipids, adipokines, and biomarkers of inflammation, endothelial dysfunction, myocyte injury and stress, and kidney function. In fully adjusted models, women had higher levels of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol and high-density lipoprotein particle concentration, leptin, d-dimer, homoarginine, and N-Terminal pro B-Type natriuretic peptide, and lower levels of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, adiponectin, lipoprotein-Associated phospholipase A2 mass and activity, monocyte chemoattractant protein-1, soluble endothelial cell adhesion molecule, symmetrical dimethylarginine, asymmetrical dimethylarginine, high-sensitivity troponin T, and cystatin C. Conclusions: Biomarker profiles differ significantly between women and men in the general population. Sex differences were most apparent for biomarkers of adiposity, endothelial dysfunction, inflammatory cell recruitment, and cardiac stress and injury. Future studies are needed to characterize whether pathophysiological processes delineated by these biomarkers contribute to sex-based differences in the development and complications of CVD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)544-555
Number of pages12
Issue number6
StatePublished - Feb 7 2017


  • biomarkers
  • body composition
  • cardiovascular diseases
  • menopause
  • sex
  • women

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)


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