Activation of HSF and selective increase in heat-shock proteins by acute dexamethasone treatment. Academic Article uri icon


  • Heat-shock proteins (HSPs) are an important family of endogenous protective proteins, which increase in response to myocardial ischemia and other stresses. Overexpression of HSP72 is cardioprotective. We were interested in the regulation of heat-shock factor (HSF), the transcription factor for HSP genes. Previously we have observed that the inflammatory cytokine tumor necrosis factor-alpha increases HSP72 levels and postulated that dexamethasone might effect the heat shock response. In the adult rat cardiac myocyte we found that treatment with either low (10 microM)- or high (100 microM)-dose dexamethasone activated HSF by 2-6 h as determined by gel shift assay without evidence of cytotoxicity. Although HSF activation is a key step in expression of HSP72, this may not result in an increase in HSP72. We found that 10 microM dexamethasone increased HSP72 38%, and 100 microM dexamethasone increased HSP72 62% (P < 0.05). HSP27 and HSP60 were unchanged. The selective increase in HSP72 was associated with protection of the cardiac myocytes from hypoxia and reoxygenation. We conclude that dexamethasone is a novel inducer of the heat shock response.

published proceedings

  • Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol

author list (cited authors)

  • Sun, L., Chang, J., Kirchhoff, S. R., & Knowlton, A. A.

citation count

  • 78

complete list of authors

  • Sun, L||Chang, J||Kirchhoff, SR||Knowlton, AA

publication date

  • April 2000