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Cardiovasc Res. 2001 Sep;51(4):637-46.

Heat shock proteins and cardiac protection.

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Institute of Child Health, University College London, 30 Guilford Street, London WC1N 1EH, UK.


The heat shock proteins (hsps) are expressed in normal cells but their expression is enhanced by a number of different stresses including heat and ischaemia. They play important roles in chaperoning the folding of other proteins and in protein degradation. In the heart a number of studies have shown that prior induction of the hsps by a mild stress has a protective effect against a more severe stress. Moreover, over-expression of an individual hsp in cardiac cells in culture or in the intact heart of either transgenic animals or using virus vectors, also produces a protective effect, directly demonstrating the ability of the hsps to produce protection. These findings indicate the potential importance of developing procedures for elevating hsp expression in a safe and efficient manner in human individuals using either pharmacological or gene therapy procedures.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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