Estrogen-provided cardiac protection following burn trauma is mediated through a reduction in mitochondria-derived DAMPs

Xiao Yao, Jane G. Wigginton, David L. Maass, Lisha Ma, Deborah Carlson, Steven E. Wolf, Joseph P. Minei, Qun S. Zang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


Mitochondria-derived danger-associated molecular patterns (DAMPs) play important roles in sterile inflammation after acute injuries. This study was designed to test the hypothesis that 17β-estradiol protects the heart via suppressing myocardial mitochondrial DAMPs after burn injury using an animal model. Sprague-Dawley rats were given a third-degree scald burn comprising 40% total body surface area (TBSA). 17β-Estradiol, 0.5 mg/kg, or control vehicle was administered subcutaneously 15 min following burn. The heart was harvested 24 h postburn. Estradiol showed significant inhibition on the productivity of H2O2 and oxidation of lipid molecules in the mitochondria. Estradiol increased mitochondrial antioxidant defense via enhancing the activities and expression of superoxide dismutase (SOD) and glutathione peroxidase (GPx). Estradiol also protected mitochondrial respiratory function and structural integrity. In parallel, estradiol remarkably decreased burn-induced release of mitochondrial cytochrome c and mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) into cytoplasm. Further, estradiol inhibited myocardial apoptosis, shown by its suppression on DNA laddering and downregulation of caspase 1 and caspase 3. Estradiol's anti-inflammatory effect was demonstrated by reduction in systemic and cardiac cytokines (TNF-α, IL-1β, and IL-6), decrease in NF-κB activation, and attenuation of the expression of inflammasome component ASC in the heart of burned rats. Estradiol-provided cardiac protection was shown by reduction in myocardial injury marker troponin-I, amendment of heart morphology, and improvement of cardiac contractility after burn injury. Together, these data suggest that postburn administration of 17β-estradiol protects the heart via an effective control over the generation of mitochondrial DAMPs (mtROS, cytochrome c, and mtDNA) that incite cardiac apoptosis and inflammation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)H882-H894
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Heart and Circulatory Physiology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Mar 15 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Burn
  • DAMPs
  • Estrogen
  • Heart failure
  • Mitochondrial damage
  • Myocardial inflammation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)


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