Originally published in the Journal Biomarker Insights, vol. 17, 2022

Document Type



Background: Prostanoids are a family of lipid mediators formed from arachidonic acid by cyclooxygenase enzymes and serve as biomarkers of vascular function. Prostanoid production may be different in males and females indicating that different therapeutic approaches may be required during disease.

Objecti ves: We examined sex-dependent differences in COX-related metabolites in genetically modified mice that produce a cyclooxygenase- 2 (COX2) enzyme containing a tyrosine 385 to phenylalanine (Y385F) mutation. This mutation renders the COX2 enzyme unable to form a key intermediate radical required for complete arachidonic acid metabolism and provides a model of selective COX2 inhibition.

Design and Methods: Mice heterozygous for the Y385F mutation in COX2 were mated to produce cohorts of wild-type, heterozygous, and COX2 mutant mice. We investigated whether the genotype distribution followed Mendelian genetics and studied whether sex-specific differences could be found in certain prostanoid levels measured in peritoneal macrophages and in urinary samples.

Results : The inheritance of the COX2 mutation displayed a significant deviation with respect to Mendel’s laws of genetics, with a lowerthan- expected progeny of weaned COX2 mutant pups. In macrophages, prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) production following lipopolysaccharide (LPS) and interferon gamma (IFNγ) stimulation was COX2-dependent in both males and females, and data indicated that crosstalk between the nitric oxide (NO) and COX2 pathways may be sex specific. We observed significant differences in urinary PGE2 production by male and female COX2 mutant mice, with the loss of COX2 activity in male mice decreasing their ability to produce urinary PGE2. Finally, female mice across all 3 genotypes produced similar levels of urinary thromboxane (measured as 11-dehydro TxB2) at significantly higher levels than males, indicating a sex-related difference that is likely COX1-derived.

Conclusions: Our findings clearly demonstrate that sex-related differences in COX-derived metabolites can be observed, and that other pathways (such as the NO pathway) are affected.

Included in

Chemistry Commons