In this study, we have developed a microarray including 1467 cDNAs that were selected to specifically measure stress response in peripheral blood leukocytes. Venous blood was collected from 10 graduate students 2 h before and 2 or 24 h after an open presentation for their Ph.D. The mRNA levels in leukocytes were compared with those prepared 4 weeks before the presentation. Hierarchical cluster showed that distinct groups of genes uniformly changed their expression values in response to the stress. Bayesian t test identified significantly up-regulated 49 genes and down-regulated 21 genes. Most of them are categorized into cytokines, cytokine receptors, growth- or apoptosis-related molecules, and heat shock proteins, suggesting that stressful life events trigger acute responses in leukocytes. Our results suggest that gene expression profile in peripheral blood leukocytes may be a potentially useful method for the assessment of complex stress responses.