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Gerontology. 1998;44(1):15-20.

Basal synthesis of heat shock protein 70 increases with age in rat kidneys.

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  • 1Department of Internal Medicine, University of Genoa, Italy. maiellom@unige.it


The heat shock protein (HSP) system is a mechanism of cell defense induced by stress, constitutively expressed during basal conditions and essential to the maintenance of cellular integrity. Acutely induced HSP synthesis decreases with aging, but the effect of age on the basal expression of HSP70 has not been specifically addressed so far. The aim of this work is to study the age-dependent basal concentrations of HSP70 mRNA in rat kidneys. In 8 young (2-3 months), 6 adult (6-11 months) and 6 old male Wistar rats (22-27 months), steady-state concentrations of HSP70 and gamma-actin mRNA and of rRNA were measured. Pentosidine was measured by HPLC. The basal, unstimulated HSP70 mRNA is increased in young and old rats compared with adult subjects [young: 182% of adult levels (100-299), old: 167% of adults (142-209); p < 0.005]. The amount of pentosidine increases with age (young: 0.6 +/- 0.1; adult: 1.65 +/- 0.15; old: 2.3 +/- 0.3 pmol/mg of protein; p < 0.0001). It seems likely that different mechanisms are responsible for the increased HSP70 basal synthesis in both the young and old animals. The prevalence of anabolic activity can trigger the increased basal production of HSP70 in young rats. The accumulation of posttranslational modified proteins, documented by pentosidine, can chronically enhance HSP70 synthesis in aged animals. The suppression of the synthesis of other proteins accompanying HSP-selective production might contribute to the impairment of specific cell functions in aging.

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