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Heat shock proteins form part of a danger signal cascade in response to lipopolysaccharide and GroELAn increasing number of cell types, including peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs), have been demonstrated to release heat shock proteins (Hsps). This paper investigates further the hypothesis that Hsps are danger signals. PBMCs and Jurkat cells released Hsp70 (0·22 and 0·7 ng/106 cells, respectively) into medium over 24 h at 37°C. Release of Hsp70 was stimulated 10-fold by GroEL (P < 0·001) and more than threefold by lipopolysaccharide (LPS) (P < 0·001). Although Hsp60 could be detected in the medium of cells cultured at 37°C for 24 h, the low rates of release were due probably to cell damage. Significant release of Hsp60 was observed when Jurkat cells were exposed to GroEL (2·88 ng/106 cells) or LPS (1·40 ng/106 cells). The data are consistent with the hypothesis that Hsp70 and Hsp60 are part of a danger signalling cascade in response to bacterial infection.
Hsp70 release from peripheral blood mononuclear cellsThere are an increasing number of studies reporting the presence of Hsps in human serum. We have investigated the release of Hsp70 into blood and culture medium from peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs), and whether this release is due to cell damage or active secretion from the cells. Intact Hsp70 was released from cells within whole blood and from purified PBMCs under normal culture conditions. Hsp70 release was rapid (0.1 ng/106 cells/h) over the first 2 h of culture and continued at a reduced rate up to 24 h (<0.025 ng/106 cells/h). Using viable cell counts and lactate dehydrogenase release we were able to confirm that the release of Hsp70 was not due to cellular damage. Hsp70 release was inhibited by monensin, methyl-β-cyclodextrin, and methylamine, but not by brefeldin A. These data suggest that Hsp70 is released from cells via a non-classical pathway, possibly involving lysosomal lipid rafts.