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Brain Res. 2002 Aug 16;946(2):232-8.

Heat shock inhibits hydrogen peroxide-induced apoptosis in cultured astrocytes.

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  • 1Department of Analytical Chemistry, Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences and High Technology Research Center, Kobe Gakuin University, Japan.


Heat shock proteins (HSPs) have been shown to act as inhibitors of apoptosis, but this anti-apoptotic effect is not known in the central nervous system. Prior heat shock has been demonstrated to protect astrocytes from cell death in a model of reperfusion injury (Brain Res. 735 (1996) 265). The present study examines the mechanism underlying the protective effect of the heat shock. Preincubation of astrocytes at 40 degrees C for 10 min attenuated the hydrogen peroxide (H(2)O(2))-induced decrease in cell viability, DNA ladder formation and nuclear condensation, and these effects were blocked by the protein synthesis inhibitor cycloheximide. The thermal stress inhibited the H(2)O(2)-induced increase in caspase-3 like protease activity, but it did not affect the H(2)O(2)-induced loss of mitochondrial membrane potential. The cytosol prepared from preheated cells did not affect Ca(2+)-induced swelling of mitochondria, a marker of the permeable transition pore. The protective effect of the thermal stress on the H(2)O(2)-induced decrease in cell viability was not affected by the mitogen-activated protein/extracellular signal-regulated kinase kinase inhibitor 2'-amino-3'-methoxyflavone, the phosphatidylinositol-3 kinase inhibitor wortmannin and the NF-kappaB inhibitor pyrrolidinedithiocarbamate. These findings suggest that HSPs inhibit apoptosis via an inhibition of caspase-3 activation without effect on mitochondrial dysfunction.

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