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J Neuropathol Exp Neurol. 1997 Jun;56(6):664-72.

Multiple sclerosis: altered expression of 70- and 27-kDa heat shock proteins in lesions and myelin.

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Department of Neurology, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, New York 10461, USA.


Recent studies have implicated heat shock proteins (HSP) in the pathogenesis of the multiple sclerosis (MS) lesion. Expression of the 73 kDa constitutive HSP (HSC70), the 72 kDa stress-inducible HSP (HSP70), and the 27 kDa small HSP (HSP27) was analyzed in white matter and myelin from central nervous system (CNS) tissue of MS and normal subjects using a combination of immunocytochemistry and quantitative immunoblotting. Plaques of all types were sharply defined by reduced immunostaining for HSC70, and shown by immunoblotting to contain 30 to 50% less HSC70 than surrounding white matter or normal tissue. In contrast, HSP27 was markedly enhanced 2.5- to 4-fold in plaque regions, especially in fibrous astrocytes and in hyperplastic interfascicular oligodendrocytes at the lesion edge. HSP70 was less abundant than HSC70, and no significant differences in HSP70 levels were noted between MS and normal white matter. Myelin isolated from active plaques contained 3- to 4-fold more HSC70 than normal myelin. Pronounced expression of HSP70 and HSP27 was also found in MS myelin, although neither protein was detected in normal myelin. Thus, white matter undergoing immune-mediated destruction in MS was associated with altered distribution and expression of HSC70 and HSP27. These changes may initially serve to protect myelin from further destruction and facilitate repair; however, enhanced expression of HSC70, HSP70, and HSP27 in myelin may subsequently present as additional immune targets involved in the progression of disease.

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