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Cell Stress Chaperones. 2015 Jan;20(1):37-46. doi: 10.1007/s12192-014-0523-6. Epub 2014 Jun 29.

Upregulation of heat shock proteins and the promotion of damage-associated molecular pattern signals in a colorectal cancer model by modulated electrohyperthermia.

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Department of Radiological Sciences, Graduate School of Medicine and Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Toyama, Toyama, Japan.


In modulated electrohyperthermia (mEHT) the enrichment of electric field and the concomitant heat can selectively induce cell death in malignant tumors as a result of elevated glycolysis, lactate production (Warburg effect), and reduced electric impedance in cancer compared to normal tissues. Earlier, we showed in HT29 colorectal cancer xenografts that the mEHT-provoked programmed cell death was dominantly caspase independent and driven by apoptosis inducing factor activation. Using this model here, we studied the mEHT-related cell stress 0-, 1-, 4-, 8-, 14-, 24-, 48-, 72-, 120-, 168- and 216-h post-treatment by focusing on damage-associated molecular pattern (DAMP) signals. Significant cell death response upon mEHT treatment was accompanied by the early upregulation (4-h post-treatment) of heat shock protein (Hsp70 and Hsp90) mRNA levels. In situ, the treatment resulted in spatiotemporal occurrence of a DAMP protein signal sequence featured by the significant cytoplasmic to cell membrane translocation of calreticulin at 4 h, Hsp70 between 14 and 24 h and Hsp90 between 24- and 216-h post-treatment. The release of high-mobility group box1 protein (HMGB1) from tumor cell nuclei from 24-h post-treatment and its clearance from tumor cells by 48 h was also detected. Our results suggest that mEHT treatment can induce a DAMP-related signal sequence in colorectal cancer xenografts that may be relevant for promoting immunological cell death response, which need to be further tested in immune-competent animals.

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