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J Neurosci Res. 1990 Nov;27(3):247-55.

Induction of heat shock (stress) genes in the mammalian brain by hyperthermia and other traumatic events: a current perspective.

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Department of Zoology, University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada.


Is the heat shock response physiologically relevant? For example, following hyperthermia or ischemia, what neural cell types show induction of heat shock genes and what is the time course of the effect? Initial experiments in this area demonstrated the prominent induction of a 70 kDa heat shock protein (hsp70) when labeled brain proteins isolated from hyperthermic animals were analyzed. Recently, in situ hybridization and immunocytochemistry have been utilized to map out the pattern of expression of both constitutively expressed and stress-inducible members of the hsp70 multigene family. Different types of neural trauma have been found to induce characteristic cellular responses in the mammalian brain with regard to the type of brain cell that responds by inducing hsp70 and the timing of the induction response. Fever-like temperature causes a dramatic induction of hsp70 mRNA within 1 hr in fiber tracts of the forebrain and cerebellum, a pattern consistent with a strong glial response to heat shock. Tissue injury, namely, a small surgical cut in the cerebral cortex, induces a rapid and highly localized induction of hsp70 mRNA in cells proximal to the injury site. Using an immunocytochemical approach, a neuronal pattern of induction of hsp70 has been demonstrated following ischemia or kainic acid-induced seizures. It is apparent that the pattern of induction of hsp70 may be a useful early marker of cellular injury and may identify previously unrecognized areas of vulnerability in the nervous system.

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