Sexual Dimorphism in the Polarization of Cardiac ILCs through Elabela

Évila Lopes Salles, Sahar Emami Naeini, Bidhan Bhandari, Hesam Khodadadi, Edie Threlkeld, Sholeh Rezaee, William Meeks, Avery Meeks, Aderemi Awe, Ahmed El-Marakby, Jack C. Yu, Lei P. Wang, Babak Baban

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Elabela is a component of the apelinergic system and may exert a cardioprotective role by regulating the innate immune responses. Innate lymphoid cells (ILCs) have a significant role in initiating and progressing immune-inflammatory responses. While ILCs have been intensively investigated during the last decade, little is known about their relationship with the apelinergic system and their cardiac diversity in a gender-based paradigm. In this study, we investigated the polarization of cardiac ILCs by Elabela in males versus females in a mouse model. Using flow cytometry and immunohistochemistry analyses, we showed a potential interplay between Elabela and cardiac ILCs and whether such interactions depend on sexual dimorphism. Our findings showed, for the first time, that Elabela is expressed by cardiac ILCs, and its expression is higher in females’ ILC class 3 (ILC3s) compared to males. Females had higher frequencies of ILC1s, and Elabela was able to suppress T-cell activation and the expression of co-stimulatory CD28 in a mixed lymphocyte reaction assay (MLR). In conclusion, our results suggest, for the first time, a protective role for Elabela through its interplay with ILCs and that it can be used as an immunotherapeutic target in the treatment of cardiovascular disorders in a gender-based fashion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)223-232
Number of pages10
JournalCurrent Issues in Molecular Biology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2023


  • CD28
  • Elabela
  • ILCs
  • cardiac ILCs
  • heart immunity
  • innate immunity
  • sexual-dimorphism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Microbiology (medical)


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