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PLoS One. 2013 Jun 13;8(6):e66001. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0066001. Print 2013.

Human-derived physiological heat shock protein 27 complex protects brain after focal cerebral ischemia in mice.

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Department of Neurology, Juntendo University School of Medicine, Tokyo, Japan.


Although challenging, neuroprotective therapies for ischemic stroke remain an interesting strategy for countering ischemic injury and suppressing brain tissue damage. Among potential neuroprotective molecules, heat shock protein 27 (HSP27) is a strong cell death suppressor. To assess the neuroprotective effects of HSP27 in a mouse model of transient middle cerebral artery occlusion, we purified a "physiological" HSP27 (hHSP27) from normal human lymphocytes. hHSP27 differed from recombinant HSP27 in that it formed dimeric, tetrameric, and multimeric complexes, was phosphorylated, and contained small amounts of αβ-crystallin and HSP20. Mice received intravenous injections of hHSP27 following focal cerebral ischemia. Infarct volume, neurological deficit scores, physiological parameters, and immunohistochemical analyses were evaluated 24 h after reperfusion. Intravenous injections of hHSP27 1 h after reperfusion significantly reduced infarct size and improved neurological deficits. Injected hHSP27 was localized in neurons on the ischemic side of the brain. hHSP27 suppressed neuronal cell death resulting from cytochrome c-mediated caspase activation, oxidative stress, and inflammatory responses. Recombinant HSP27 (rHSP27), which was artificially expressed and purified from Escherichia coli, and dephosphorylated hHSP27 did not have brain protective effects, suggesting that the phosphorylation of hHSP27 may be important for neuroprotection after ischemic insults. The present study suggests that hHSP27 with posttranslational modifications provided neuroprotection against ischemia/reperfusion injury and that the protection was mediated through the inhibition of apoptosis, oxidative stress, and inflammation. Intravenously injected human HSP27 should be explored for the treatment of acute ischemic strokes.

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