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J Cereb Blood Flow Metab. 2001 Aug;21(8):972-81.

Targeting expression of hsp70i to discrete neuronal populations using the Lmo-1 promoter: assessment of the neuroprotective effects of hsp70i in vivo and in vitro.

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  • 1URCN and MRC Center for Synaptic Plasticity, Division of Medicine, University of Bristol, UK.


Transgenic technology provides a powerful means of studying gene regulation and specific gene function with complex mammalian systems. In this study, the authors exploited the specific and discrete neuronal expression pattern mediated by promoter 1 of the Lmo-1 gene to study the neuroprotective effects of the inducible form of heat shock protein 70kD (hsp70i) in primary hippocampal cultures in a mouse model of global cerebral ischemia. Targeting expression of hsp70i to hippocampal neurons protected these cells significantly from toxic levels of glutamate and oxidative stress (for example, exposure to 10 micromol/L free iron produced a 26% increase in lactate dehydrogenase release from neurons cultured from wild-type mice, but a 7% increase in neurons cultured from hsp70i transgenic mice). Bilateral carotid occlusion (25 minutes) produced significantly less neuronal damage in the caudate nucleus and posterior thalamus in hsp70i transgenic mice than in wild-type littermates (for example, 21% +/- 9.3% and 12.5% +/- 9.0% neuronal damage in lateral caudate nucleus of wild-type and hsp70i transgenic mice, respectively, P < 0.05). The current study highlights the utility of targeted expression of transgenes of interest in cerebral ischemia and demonstrates that expression of hsp70i alone is sufficient to mediate the protection of primary neurons from denaturing stress and that expression of human hsp70i in vivo plays crucial role in determining the fate of neurons after ischemic challenge.

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