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Immun Ageing. 2015 Nov 4;12:20. doi: 10.1186/s12979-015-0046-8. eCollection 2015.

Heat shock proteins and hormesis in the diagnosis and treatment of neurodegenerative diseases.

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Department of Biomedical and Biotechnological Sciences, University of Catania, Via Andrea Doria, 95100 Catania, Italy.
Institute of Pharmacology, Catholic University School of Medicine, Rome, Italy.
Department of Medical and Surgery Specialties, University of Catania, Catania, Italy.
University College London Hospitals, NHS Foundation Trust, London, UK.
Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Catania, Catania, Italy.
Environmental Health Sciences Division, School of Public Health, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA USA.
Contributed equally


Modulation of endogenous cellular defense mechanisms via the vitagene system represents an innovative approach to therapeutic intervention in diseases causing chronic tissue damage, such as in neurodegeneration. The possibility of high-throughoutput screening using proteomic techniques, particularly redox proteomics, provide more comprehensive overview of the interaction of proteins, as well as the interplay among processes involved in neuroprotection. Here by introducing the hormetic dose response concept, the mechanistic foundations and applications to the field of neuroprotection, we discuss the emerging role of heat shock protein as prominent member of vitagene network in neuroprotection and redox proteomics as a tool for investigating redox modulation of stress responsive vitagenes. Hormetic mechanisms are reviewed as possibility of targeted therapeutic manipulation in a cell-, tissue- and/or pathway-specific manner at appropriate points in the neurodegenerative disease process.


Alzheimer’s disease; Bilirubin; Heat shock proteins; Heme oxygenase; Neurodegenerative disorders; Oxidative stress; Vitagenes

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