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Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2000 Aug 2;274(2):542-7.

Endothelial cells downregulate expression of the 70 kDa heat shock protein during hypoxia.

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Surgical Research Laboratories, University of Vienna, Vienna, A-1090, Austria.


Hsp70 is induced by hypoxia in most mammalian cell types and contributes to their ability to survive hypoxic episodes. However, little is known about Hsp70 expression in the hypoxia-tolerant endothelial cells (ECs). We investigated the effect of hypoxia on Hsp70 in human microvascular endothelial HMEC-1 cells. Reduction of pO(2) to 2.5% of normal for 20 h stimulated lactate production and the activity of glycolytic enzymes. This metabolic adaptation to hypoxia was accompanied by a remarkable reduction of Hsp70 on the protein level and on the mRNA level. Approximately 12 h after the hypoxic period Hsp70 expression reached pre-hypoxia levels again. Since ECs are adapted to the low oxygen tension of the vasculature they are confronted with a supraphysiological oxygen level during in vitro culture. We suppose that the high Hsp70 under these conditions reflects a stress response which disappears at the more physiological reduced oxygen tension during hypoxia.

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