Increasing evidence has revealed that humid heat stress (HHS) causes considerable damage to human health. The cardiovascular system has been suggested to be the primary target of heat stress, which results in serious cardiovascular diseases. However, there is still a lack of effective approaches for the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular diseases induced by HHS.
Heat-shock proteins (Hsps), especially Hsp70, are reported to provide effective cytoprotection under various stress stimuli. In the present study, we evaluated the cytoprotective effect of geranylgeranylacetone (GGA), which was previously been reported to induce Hsp70 expression in cardiomyocytes under HHS.
Methods and Principal Findings
Using a mouse model of HHS, we showed that the pretreatment of GGA enhanced Hsp70 expression under HHS, as examined by quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) and Western blot. We then examined the effect of GGA pretreatment on the cardiomyocyte apoptosis induced by HHS using terminal-deoxynucleoitidyl transferase mediated nick end labeling (TUNEL) staining, and found that GGA pretreatment inhibited mitochondria-mediated apoptosis. GGA pretreatment could reverse the effect of HHS on cell apoptosis by increasing expression of Bcl-2, decreasing cytochrome c in cytosol, and increasing cytochrome c in mitochondria. However, GGA pretreatment had no effect on the oxidative stress induced by HHS as determined by levels of superoxide dismutase (SOD), malondialdehyde (MDA), and glutathione (GSH).
We have demonstrated that GGA pretreatment suppressed HHS-induced apoptosis of cardiomyocytes through the induction of Hsp70 overexpression.