Aims: We investigate sex differences and the role of oestrogen receptor beta (ERbeta) in a mouse model of pressure overload-induced myocardial hypertrophy. Methods and results: We performed transverse aortic constriction (TAC) or sham surgery in male and female wild-type (WT) and ERbeta knockout (ERbeta-/-) C57Bl6 mice. All mice were characterised by echocardiography and haemodynamic measurements and were sacrificed nine weeks after surgery. Left ventricular (LV) samples were analysed by microarray profiling, real-time RT-PCR and histology. After nine weeks, WT males showed more hypertrophy and heart failure signs than WT females. Notably, WT females developed a concentric form of hypertrophy, while males developed eccentric hypertrophy. These sex differences were abolished in ERbeta-/- mice. ERbeta deletion augmented the TAC-induced increase in cardiomyocyte diameter in both sexes. Gene expression profiling revealed that male WT hearts had a stronger induction of matrix-related genes and a stronger repression of mitochondrial genes than female hearts. ERbeta-/- mice exhibited a different transcriptome. Induction of pro-apoptotic genes after TAC occurred in ERbeta-/- mice of both sexes with a stronger expression in ERbeta-/- males. Histological analysis revealed, that cardiac fibrosis was more pronounced in male WT TAC than in female mice. This was abolished in ERbeta-/- mice. Apoptosis was significantly induced in both sexes of ERbeta-/- TAC mice, but it was most prominent in males. Conclusion: Female sex offers protection against ventricular chamber dilation in the TAC model. Both the female sex and ERbeta attenuate the development of fibrosis and apoptosis; thus slowing the progression to heart failure.