Cell size and the heat-shock response in rat brain

M. Morrison-Bogorad, S. Pardue, D. D. McIntire, E. K. Miller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


The expression of mRNAs encoding two members of the heat-shock protein 70 family, the constitutively-expressed heat-shock cognate (hsc70) mRNA and the strictly heat-inducible (hsp70) mRNA, was quantitated in cerebellar and hippocampal cells of rats 3 h after amphetamine-induced or heat-induced hyperthermia. Intracellular heat-shock mRNA levels in specific cell types were compared with those of total polyadenylic acid [poly(A)] mRNA or 18S rRNA in the same cell type. Levels of poly(A) mRNAs, 18S rRNAs, and hsc70 mRNAs were highest in large neurons and lowest in glia. hsp70 mRNAs were also present at highest levels in large neurons, suggesting that hsp70 mRNAs accumulated as rapidly in these cell types as they did in small neurons and glia. However, compared with levels of intracellular poly(A) mRNAs or levels of rRNAs, large neurons contained two- to 12-fold lower levels of hsp70 mRNAs than neurons of intermediate size and five- to 30-fold lower levels than glia. These results suggest that hsp70 mRNAs accumulated as rapidly in large neurons as in small neurons and glia, but that the large size of these neurons precluded intracellular hsp70 mRNA concentrations increasing as quickly. The susceptibility of large neurons to stress-induced cell death could be due, in part, to their inability to synthesize rapidly hsp70 in sufficient amounts to protect these cells from the initial molecular consequences of stress.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)857-867
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Neurochemistry
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1994


  • Amphetamine
  • Cell damage
  • Cell size
  • Heat shock
  • Heat-shock 70 mRNAs
  • Quantitation of in situ hybridization
  • Rat brain
  • Stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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