Objective: Serum Hsp60 and anti-Hsp65 antibody levels are raised in subjects with borderline hypertension, and there is an association between circulating Hsp60 levels and early atherosclerosis. Given the recognized relationship between hypertension and atherosclerosis, this study determined heat shock protein and heat shock protein antibody levels in subjects with established hypertension.
Methods: Samples from 111 men with hypertension were obtained from the European Lacidipine study on Atherosclerosis and samples from 75 normotensive controls were taken from a population-screening programme (diastolic pressure, 95 and 80 mmHg, respectively). Hsp60, Hsp70 and anti-human Hsp60, anti-human Hsp70 and anti-mycobacterial Hsp65 antibody levels were measured by enzyme immunoassay. Intima-media thickness (I-M) and the presence of carotid atherosclerosis were determined by ultrasonography.
Results: Hsp60, Hsp70 and anti-Hsp60 antibody levels in hypertension were similar to those in normotensive controls, whereas anti-Hsp70 and anti-Hsp65 antibody levels were elevated ( 0.001). Hsp60 levels and atherosclerosis were not associated. Anti-Hsp70 and anti-Hsp65 antibody levels were both associated with hypertension, independently of age, smoking habits and blood lipids.
Conclusions: This study demonstrates elevated levels of selected heat shock protein antibodies in subjects with hypertension. Although the association between heat shock protein antibody levels and human cardiovascular stress/disease appears to be robust, the relationship of the latter with heat shock protein levels is more complex. Further studies are required before the factors inducing, and the clinical significance of, circulating heat shock proteins can be evaluated.