Heat-Stress Preconditioning Attenuates Behavioral Responses to Psychological Stress: The Role of HSP-70 in Modulating Stress Responses

Tal Belity, Michal Horowitz, Jay R. Hoffman, Yoram Epstein, Yaron Bruchim, Doron Todder, Hagit Cohen

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Exposure to high ambient temperature is a stressor that influences both biological and behavioral functions and has been previously shown to have an extensive impact on brain structure and function. Physiological, cellular and behavioral responses to heat-stress (HS) (40–41 °C, 2 h) were evaluated in adult male Sprague-Dawley rats. The effect of HS exposure before predator-scent stress (PSS) exposure (i.e., HS preconditioning) was examined. Finally, a possible mechanism of HS-preconditioning to PSS was investigated. Immunohistochemical analyses of chosen cellular markers were performed in the hippocampus and in the hypothalamic paraventricular nucleus (PVN). Plasma corticosterone levels were evaluated, and the behavioral assessment included the elevated plus-maze (EPM) and the acoustic startle response (ASR) paradigms. Endogenous levels of heat shock protein (HSP)-70 were manipulated using an amino acid (L-glutamine) and a pharmacological agent (Doxazosin). A single exposure to an acute HS resulted in decreased body mass (BM), increased body temperature and increased corticosterone levels. Additionally, extensive cellular, but not behavioral changes were noted. HS-preconditioning provided behavioral resiliency to anx-iety-like behavior associated with PSS, possibly through the induction of HSP-70. Targeting of HSP70 is an attractive strategy for stress-related psychopathology treatment.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number4129
    JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
    Issue number8
    StatePublished - 1 Apr 2022


    • anxiety
    • heat shock protein-70
    • heat-stress
    • hyperthermia
    • hypothalamus-pituitary-ad-renal axis
    • preconditioning

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Catalysis
    • Molecular Biology
    • Spectroscopy
    • Computer Science Applications
    • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
    • Organic Chemistry
    • Inorganic Chemistry


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