Heat acclimation increases the basal HSP72 level and alters its production dynamics during heat stress

Alina Maloyan, Aaron Palmon, Michal Horowitz*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

166 Scopus citations


It has been previously shown that heat acclimation leads to an elevated basal level of 72-kDa heat shock protein (HSP72). Augmented expression of HSP72 is considered as a cytoprotective response. This led us to hypothesize that alterations in the heat shock protein (HSP) defense pathway are an integral part of the heat acclimation repertoire. To investigate this, we studied the temporal profile of basal HSP expression upon acclimation and the dynamics of their accumulation subsequent to acute heat stress (HS). In parallel, HSP72 mRNA level before and after HS was measured. For comparison, HSC mRNA [the constitutive member of 70-kDa HSP (HSP70) family] was measured in similar conditions. Heat acclimation was attained by continuous exposure of rats to 34°C for 0, 1, 2, and 30 days. HS was attained by exposure to 41 or 43°C for 2 h. Thermoregulatory capacity of the rats was defined by rectal temperature, heating rate, and the cumulative heat strain invoked during HS. HSP72 and HSP70 gene transcripts were measured in the left ventricle of the heart by means of Western immunoblotting and semiquantitative RT-PCR, respectively. The resultant acclimatory change comprised a higher resting level of the encoded 72-kDa protein (Δ175%, P < 0.0001). After HS, peak HSP72 mRNA level was attained, 40 and 20 min post-HS at 41 and 43°C, respectively, vs. 60 and 40 min in the nonacclimated group. The subsequent HSP synthesis, however, was dependent on the severity of the cumulative heat strain. At the initial phase of heat acclimation, augmented HSP72 transcription unaccompanied by HSP synthesis was observed. It is concluded that upon heat acclimation, the HSP defense pathway is predisposed to a faster response. At the initial phases of heat acclimation, inability to elevate the HSP cytosolic level rules out their direct cytoprotective role.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)R1506-R1515
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Regulatory Integrative and Comparative Physiology
Issue number5 45-5
StatePublished - May 1999


  • 72-kilodalton heat shock protein
  • 72-kilodalton heat shock protein messenger ribonucleic acid
  • 73-kilodalton constitutive heat shock protein messenger ribonucleic acid
  • Heart
  • Heat stress
  • Rats


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