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Toxicology. 1998 May 15;127(1-3):107-19.

Stressor-specific enhancement of hsp induction by low doses of stressors in conditions of self- and cross-sensitization.

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Department of Molecular Cell Biology, Utrecht University, The Netherlands.


In this paper, the pattern of induction of heat shock proteins (hsps) was studied in cultured Reuber H35 rat hepatoma cells by sequential application of different stressors. We analyzed whether a specific stress condition is able to induce an enhanced sensitivity to a subsequent application of a low dose of either the same or another stressor (self-sensitization and cross-sensitization, respectively). As a measure of sensitization, the stimulation of hsp induction was employed. Three different stressor conditions (heat shock, sodium arsenite and cadmium chloride) were used in doses which exerted a similar impact on overall protein synthesis. A synergistic effect in induction of the synthesis of various hsps was observed when a high stressor dose was followed by an 8-h incubation in a lower stressor dose in both self- and cross-sensitization experiments. The low-dose conditions used as second treatments did not induce any responses in non-pretreated cells. Studies in cultured cells have demonstrated stressor-specific hsp induction patterns. In this study we analyzed whether the pattern of hsps induced by the low-dose condition is characteristic for the first sensitizing stressor or for the secondary stressor applied in a low dose. The pattern of hsps which was induced above the level of the high-dose effect, due to the incubation with the secondary applied low-dose condition, was found to be characteristic for the secondary stressor and not for the sensitizing primary treatment. These results are of importance for an improved understanding of the regulation of heat shock protein synthesis in conditions of self- and cross-sensitization, as well as for a proper use of hsps as biomarkers of exposure to environmental stress.

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