Heat shock protein and innate immunity

Cell Mol Immunol. 2004 Aug;1(4):274-9.


In addition to serving as molecular chaperones, heat shock proteins (HSPs) have been implicated in autoimmune diseases, antigen presentation and tumor immunity. Extensive work in the last 10 years has also suggested that HSPs such as Hsp60, Hsp70, Hsp90 and gp96, may be potent activators of the innate immune system capable of inducing the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines by the monocyte-macrophage system, and the activation and maturation of dendritic cells via the Toll-like receptor 2 and 4 signal transduction pathways. However, recent evidence suggests that the reported cytokine effects of HSPs may be a result of the contaminating bacterial cell-wall products. This concise review summarizes the current controversy over the role of HSPs in innate immunity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antigen Presentation / physiology
  • Antigens, Bacterial / immunology
  • Autoimmunity / physiology
  • Cytokines / immunology
  • Heat-Shock Proteins / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Innate / physiology*
  • Signal Transduction / physiology


  • Antigens, Bacterial
  • Cytokines
  • Heat-Shock Proteins