Exposure to Stress Alters Cardiac Gene Expression and Exacerbates Myocardial Ischemic Injury in the Female Murine Heart

Hemangini A. Dhaibar, Lilly Kamberov, Natalie G. Carroll, Shripa Amatya, Dario Cosic, Oscar Gomez-Torres, Shantel Vital, Farzane Sivandzade, Aditya Bhalerao, Salvatore Mancuso, Xinggui Shen, Hyung Nam, A. Wayne Orr, Tanja Dudenbostel, Steven R. Bailey, Christopher G. Kevil, Luca Cucullo, Diana Cruz-Topete

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Mental stress is a risk factor for myocardial infarction in women. The central hypothesis of this study is that restraint stress induces sex-specific changes in gene expression in the heart, which leads to an intensified response to ischemia/reperfusion injury due to the development of a pro-oxidative environment in female hearts. We challenged male and female C57BL/6 mice in a restraint stress model to mimic the effects of mental stress. Exposure to restraint stress led to sex differences in the expression of genes involved in cardiac hypertrophy, inflammation, and iron-dependent cell death (ferroptosis). Among those genes, we identified tumor protein p53 and cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor 1A (p21), which have established controversial roles in ferroptosis. The exacerbated response to I/R injury in restraint-stressed females correlated with downregulation of p53 and nuclear factor erythroid 2–related factor 2 (Nrf2, a master regulator of the antioxidant response system-ARE). S-female hearts also showed increased superoxide levels, lipid peroxidation, and prostaglandin-endoperoxide synthase 2 (Ptgs2) expression (a hallmark of ferroptosis) compared with those of their male counterparts. Our study is the first to test the sex-specific impact of restraint stress on the heart in the setting of I/R and its outcome.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number10994
JournalInternational journal of molecular sciences
Issue number13
StatePublished - Jul 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • ferroptosis
  • glucocorticoids
  • myocardial infarction
  • oxidative stress
  • sexual dimorphism
  • stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Spectroscopy
  • Catalysis
  • Inorganic Chemistry
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry


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