The acute inflammatory response to active or passive activities that increase body temperature may aid to reduce chronic low-grade inflammation. This study investigates the impact of temperature and extracellular heat shock protein 72 (eHsp72) on the acute intracellular Hsp72 (iHsp72) and interleukin-6 (iIL-6) response in monocytes. Whole blood was incubated for 2 h at 37.0 °C, 38.5 °C and 40.0 °C, in the absence or presence of 0.5 μg/ml eHsp72. Flow cytometry was used to assess iHsp72 and iIL-6 expression in total monocytes and the three monocyte subsets. Incubation at 40.0 °C (p < 0.001) but not 38.5 °C (p = 0.085) increased iHsp72 expression when compared with 37.0 °C, while there was no effect of temperature on iIL-6 expression (p = 0.635). Following incubation with eHsp72, the expression of iHsp72 in classical monocytes was reduced at all temperatures (p < 0.001), while there was no effect of eHsp72 on iIL-6 expression (p = 0.071). Large temperature elevations are needed to induce an acute iHsp72 response in monocytes. In addition, contrary to its suggested role as a danger signal for the innate immune system, eHsp72 reduced iHsp72 and iIL-6 expression in monocytes.
Keywords: Flow cytometry; Heat shock protein 72; Inflammation; Interleukin-6; Passive heating.