Sex-specific effects of plastic caging in murine viral myocarditis

Katelyn A. Bruno, Logan P. Macomb, A. Carolina Morales-Lara, Jessica E. Mathews, J. Augusto Frisancho, Alex L. Yang, Damian N. Di Florio, Brandy H. Edenfield, Emily R. Whelan, Gary R. Salomon, Anneliese R. Hill, Chathuranga C. Hewa-Rahinduwage, Ashley J. Scott, Henry D. Greyner, Frank A. Molina, Merci S. Greenaway, George M. Cooper, Delisa Fairweather

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Myocarditis is an inflammatory heart disease caused by viral infections that can lead to heart failure, and occurs more often in men than women. Since animal studies have shown that myocarditis is influenced by sex hormones, we hypothesized that endocrine disruptors, which interfere with natural hormones, may play a role in the progression of the disease. The human population is exposed to the endocrine disruptor bisphenol A (BPA) from plastics, such as water bottles and plastic food containers. Methods: Male and female adult BALB/c mice were housed in plastic versus glass caging, or exposed to BPA in drinking water versus control water. Myocarditis was induced with coxsackievirus B3 on day 0, and the endpoints were assessed on day 10 post infection. Results: We found that male BALB/c mice that were exposed to plastic caging had increased myocarditis due to complement activation and elevated numbers of macrophages and neutrophils, whereas females had elevated mast cell activation and fibrosis. Conclusions: These findings show that housing mice in traditional plastic caging increases viral myocarditis in males and females, but using sex-specific immune mechanisms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number8834
JournalInternational journal of molecular sciences
Issue number16
StatePublished - Aug 2 2021


  • Bisphenol A
  • Coxsackievirus B3
  • Endocrine disruptors
  • Myocarditis
  • Sex differences

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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