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J Cereb Blood Flow Metab. 2003 Jun;23(6):718-27.

Overexpression of rat heat shock protein 70 is associated with reduction of early mitochondrial cytochrome C release and subsequent DNA fragmentation after permanent focal ischemia.

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Department of Neurological Surgery, section sign Neurology, University of California and VA Medical Center, San Francisco, California 94143-0112, USA.


Although protective effects of heat shock protein 70 (HSP70) overproduction after ischemic injury have been shown both in vitro and in vivo in neurons, the mechanisms are not fully understood. The hypothesis of this study is that transgenic mice overexpressing HSP70 (HSP70 Tg) show reduced mitochondrial cytochrome c release into cytosol and diminished apoptotic cell death after permanent focal ischemia in comparison to wild-type (Wt) mice. Permanent middle cerebral artery occlusion (pMCAO) was produced by intraluminal suture cannulation in HSP70 Tg and Wt mice. DNA fragmentation was evaluated with DNA gel electrophoresis and terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase-mediated biotinylated UTP nick end labeling (TUNEL) 24 h after pMCAO. Mitochondrial cytochrome c release into cytosol was assessed with Western blotting and immunohistochemistry 4 h after pMCAO. Cytochrome c levels in the cytosolic fraction were significantly reduced and immunoreactivity of cytochrome c in both cortex and striatum was significantly less in HSP70 Tg mice compared with Wt mice after 4-h pMCAO. DNA laddering, which was clearly observed in Wt mice, was markedly attenuated in HSP70 Tg mice 24 h after pMCAO. The number of TUNEL-positive cells was significantly reduced in HSP70 Tg mice compared with Wt mice. Results are consistent with an association between overexpression of HSP70 and reduction of cytochrome c release with subsequent DNA fragmentation. This may contribute to the HSP70-mediated neuroprotective effect observed after cerebral ischemia.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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