Alfalfa-derived HSP70 administered intranasally improves insulin sensitivity in mice

Cell Stress Chaperones. 2018 Mar;23(2):189-194. doi: 10.1007/s12192-017-0835-4. Epub 2017 Aug 18.


Heat shock protein (HSP) 70 is an abundant cytosolic chaperone protein that is deficient in insulin-sensitive tissues in diabetes and unhealthy aging, and is considered a longevity target. It is also protective in neurological disease models. Using HSP70 purified from alfalfa and administered as an intranasal solution, we tested in whether the administration of Hsp70 to diet-induced diabetic mice would improve insulin sensitivity. Both the 10 and 40 μg given three times per week for 26 days significantly improved the response to insulin. The HSP70 was found to pass into the olfactory bulbs within 4-6 hours of a single dose. These results suggest that a relatively inexpensive, plentiful source of HSP70 administered in a simple, non-invasive manner, has therapeutic potential in diabetes.

Keywords: Brain; HSP70; Insulin resistance; Intranasal administration; Obesity.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Intranasal
  • Animals
  • Diet, High-Fat
  • Fluorescent Dyes / metabolism
  • Glucose / metabolism
  • HSP70 Heat-Shock Proteins / administration & dosage*
  • HSP70 Heat-Shock Proteins / pharmacology
  • Insulin Resistance*
  • Medicago sativa / chemistry*
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL


  • Fluorescent Dyes
  • HSP70 Heat-Shock Proteins
  • Glucose