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Male homosexuality and maternal immune responsivity to the Y-linked protein NLGN4Y.

  • Academic Journal
  • Bogaert AF; Department of Health Sciences, Brock University, St. Catharines, ON L2S 3A1, Canada; tbogaert@brocku.ca.; Department of Psychology, Brock University, St. Catharines, ON L2S 3A1, Canada.
    Skorska MN; Department of Psychology, Brock University, St. Catharines, ON L2S 3A1, Canada.; Department of Psychology, University of Toronto Mississauga, Mississauga, ON L5L 1C6, Canada.
    Wang C; Brigham & Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115.
    Gabrie J; Department of Health Sciences, Brock University, St. Catharines, ON L2S 3A1, Canada.
    MacNeil AJ; Department of Health Sciences, Brock University, St. Catharines, ON L2S 3A1, Canada.
    Hoffarth MR; Department of Psychology, Brock University, St. Catharines, ON L2S 3A1, Canada.
    VanderLaan DP; Department of Psychology, University of Toronto Mississauga, Mississauga, ON L5L 1C6, Canada.; Child, Youth and Family Division, Underserved Populations Research Program, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Toronto, ON M6J 1H4, Canada.
    Zucker KJ; Department of Psychiatry, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON M5T 1R8, Canada.
    Blanchard R; Department of Psychiatry, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON M5T 1R8, Canada.
  • Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America [Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A] 2018 Jan 09; Vol. 115 (2), pp. 302-306. Date of Electronic Publication: 2017 Dec 11.
  • English
  • We conducted a direct test of an immunological explanation of the finding that gay men have a greater number of older brothers than do heterosexual men. This explanation posits that some mothers develop antibodies against a Y-linked protein important in male brain development, and that this effect becomes increasingly likely with each male gestation, altering brain structures underlying sexual orientation in their later-born sons. Immune assays targeting two Y-linked proteins important in brain development-protocadherin 11 Y-linked (PCDH11Y) and neuroligin 4 Y-linked (NLGN4Y; isoforms 1 and 2)-were developed. Plasma from mothers of sons, about half of whom had a gay son, along with additional controls (women with no sons, men) was analyzed for male protein-specific antibodies. Results indicated women had significantly higher anti-NLGN4Y levels than men. In addition, after statistically controlling for number of pregnancies, mothers of gay sons, particularly those with older brothers, had significantly higher anti-NLGN4Y levels than did the control samples of women, including mothers of heterosexual sons. The results suggest an association between a maternal immune response to NLGN4Y and subsequent sexual orientation in male offspring.
    Competing Interests: The authors declare no conflict of interest.
    (Copyright © 2018 the Author(s). Published by PNAS.)
Additional Information
Publisher: National Academy of Sciences Country of Publication: United States NLM ID: 7505876 Publication Model: Print-Electronic Cited Medium: Internet ISSN: 1091-6490 (Electronic) Linking ISSN: 00278424 NLM ISO Abbreviation: Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A Subsets: MEDLINE
Original Publication: Washington, DC : National Academy of Sciences
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Keywords: NLGN4Y*; fraternal birth order*; homosexuality*; maternal immune hypothesis*; sexual orientation*
0 (Antibodies)
0 (Cell Adhesion Molecules, Neuronal)
0 (NLGN4X protein, human)
Date Created: 20171213 Date Completed: 20180717 Latest Revision: 20220818
20220819
PMC5777026
10.1073/pnas.1705895114
29229842
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