Anti-Inflammation: Finding a New Role for Heat Shock Proteins in Human Health
Currie, R. William
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Heat shock proteins (Hsps) are highly conserved proteins and have been proven to protect prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells in most organisms against external stressors, whether environmental or pathophysiological. This defense mechanism probably depends on the roles of Hsps as molecular chaperones in governing proper protein assembly, folding and transport or as anti -apoptotic regulators of cell death pathways. Recent investigations on human inflammatory diseases indicate that Hsps may be involved in the process of inflammation. In this short review, we describe the general concept of heat shock proteins and inflammation and the new anti-inflammation role of heat shock proteins in various inflammatory diseases such as infection, autoimmune diseases, ischemia/reperfusion injury, cardiovascular diseases and chemical-induced diseases. The Hsps may act as autoantigens to stimulate the immune system and interact with inflammatory intracellular signaling pathways to regulate the inflammatory response. There are still unanswered questions about the heat shock response that require further investigation.