Estrogen has been determined to be an influential factor in lessening the harmful effects of cardiac hypertrophy in pre-menopausal women. Myosin heavy chain alpha (MHC-α) is a gene that plays a protective role in the heart. It is up-regulated during adaptive cardiac hypertrophy, allowing the heart to increase in size and beat faster. Levels of thyroid hormone receptor and miRNA 208a expression have been indicated in regulating MHC-α expression levels. By examining estrogen’s metabolic pathway and its effect on MHC-α directly, as well as the effect of MHC protein regulators, the thyroid hormone receptor and thyroid hormone signaling pathway and miRNA 208a, the expression level of MHC-α can be up-regulated in order to treat maladaptive cardiac hypertrophy. RNA was extracted from rat pup cardiomyocytes that were treated with estrogen, estrogen agonist, and estrogen antagonist and run through real-time PCR to determine relative gene expression levels. Analysis of Real Time PCR results showed an increase in expression levels for MHC-α and an increase in expression levels for miRNA 208a using estrogen but a decrease in expression using the antagonist. Results for thyroid hormone receptor were undetermined.

Semester/Year of Award

Spring 2013


Rebekah L. Waikel

Department/Professional Affiliation

Biological Sciences

Access Options

Restricted Access Thesis

Document Type

Bachelor Thesis

Degree Name

Honors Scholars

Degree Level



Biological Sciences

IACUC Approval Number (if applicable)