Restoring HSP70 deficiencies improves glucose tolerance in diabetic monkeys

Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. 2011 May;300(5):E894-901. doi: 10.1152/ajpendo.00699.2010. Epub 2011 Feb 15.


We evaluated heat shock protein 70 (HSP70) changes in diabetes mellitus (DM) in a nonhuman primate model. To this end, two studies were conducted in DM vervet monkeys. 1) Normal control and streptozotocin-induced DM monkeys (Stz-DM) that were differentiated into moderately or poorly controlled DM by judicious insulin administration were evaluated. Liver was collected at 4, 8, 12, 16, and 20 wk after streptozotocin, exposed to ex vivo heat shock at 42°C, and immunoblotted for heat shock factor 1 (HSF1), HSP70, and phosphorylated HSF1. 2) Spontaneous DM monkeys that were not pharmacologically induced were included in a crossover study of the HSP70-inducing drug geranylgeranylacetone (GGA). GGA at 20 mg/kg was given for 14 days with a 6-wk washout period. Glucose tolerance testing and plasma and muscle HSP70 were the primary outcome measurements. In Stz-DM, hyperglycemia reduced hepatic HSP70 in a dose-dependent fashion. HSF1 was increased in livers of monkeys with Stz-DM, but responses to ex vivo heat shock were impaired vs. normal monkeys. Activation of HSF1 appears to be important, because the phosphorylation change with heat stress was nearly perfectly correlated with HSP70 increases. Impaired HSF1 activation was also seen in Stz-DM after chronic hyperglycemia (>12 wk). In naturally occurring DM, increased circulating HSP70 resulted in significantly improved glucose tolerance and significant, positive trends in other measurements of insulin resistance. No change in muscle HSP70 content was observed. We conclude that increasing HSP70, potentially through targeting hyperglycemia-related deficits in HSF1 induction and activation in the liver, is a potent and viable strategy to improve glucose tolerance.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Analysis of Variance
  • Animals
  • Body Weight / physiology
  • Chlorocebus aethiops
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / blood
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Experimental / metabolism
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Experimental / therapy*
  • Diterpenes / pharmacology
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Female
  • Glucose Intolerance / therapy*
  • Glycated Hemoglobin A / metabolism
  • HSP70 Heat-Shock Proteins / genetics
  • HSP70 Heat-Shock Proteins / physiology*
  • Heat Shock Transcription Factors
  • Heat Stress Disorders / metabolism
  • Hyperglycemia / blood
  • Lipid Metabolism / physiology
  • Liver / metabolism
  • Male
  • Phosphorylation
  • Transcription Factors / blood


  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Diterpenes
  • Glycated Hemoglobin A
  • HSP70 Heat-Shock Proteins
  • Heat Shock Transcription Factors
  • Transcription Factors
  • geranylgeranylacetone