Association of heat-shock proteins in various neurodegenerative disorders: is it a master key to open the therapeutic door?

Mol Cell Biochem. 2014 Jan;386(1-2):45-61. doi: 10.1007/s11010-013-1844-y. Epub 2013 Oct 5.


A number of acute and chronic neurodegenerative disorders are caused due to misfolding and aggregation of many intra- and extracellular proteins. Protein misfolding and aggregation processes in cells are strongly regulated by cellular molecular chaperones known as heat-shock proteins (Hsps) that include Hsp60, Hsp70, Hsp40, and Hsp90. Recent studies have shown the evidences that Hsps are colocalized in protein aggregates in Alzheimer's disease (AD), Parkinson's disease (PD), Polyglutamine disease (PGD), Prion disease, and other neurodegenerative disorders. This fact indicates that Hsps might have attempted to prevent aggregate formation in cells and thus to suppress disease conditions. Experimental findings have already established in many cases that selective overexpression of Hsps like Hsp70 and Hsp40 prevented the disease progression in various animal models and cellular models. However, recently, various Hsp modulators like geldanamycin, 17-(dimethylaminoethylamino)-17-demethoxygeldanamycin, and celastrol have shown to up-regulate the expression level of Hsp70 and Hsp40, which in turn triggers the solubilization of diseased protein aggregates. Hsps are, therefore, if appropriately selected, an attractive choice for therapeutic targeting in various kinds of neurodegeneration and hence are expected to have strong potential as therapeutic agents in suppressing or curing AD, PD, PGD, and other devastative neurodegenerative disorders. In the present review, we report the experimental findings that describe the implication of Hsps in the development of neurodegeneration and explore the possibility of how Hsps can be used directly or as a target by other agents to prevent various neurodegeneration through preventing aggregation process and thus reducing the toxicity of the oligomers based on the previous reports.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Heat-Shock Proteins / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Neurodegenerative Diseases / metabolism*
  • Protein Folding


  • Heat-Shock Proteins