Exogenous heat shock cognate protein Hsc 70 prevents axotomy-induced death of spinal sensory neurons

Cell Stress Chaperones. 1996 Sep;1(3):161-6. doi: 10.1379/1466-1268(1996)001<0161:ehscph>2.3.co;2.


Elevation of intracellular heat shock protein (Hsp)70 increases resistance of cells to many physical and metabolic insults. We tested the hypothesis that treatment with Hsc70 can also produce that effect, using the model of axotomy-induced neuronal death in the neonatal mouse. The sciatic nerve was sectioned and in some animals purified bovine brain Hsc70 was applied to the proximal end of the nerve immediately thereafter and again 3 days later. Seven days postaxotomy, the surviving sensory neurons of the lumbar dorsal root ganglion (DRG) and motoneurons of the lumbar ventral spinal cord were counted to assess cell death. Axotomy induced the death of approximately 33% of DRG neurons and 50% of motoneurons, when examined 7 days postinjury. Application of exogenous Hsc70 prevented axotomy-induced death of virtually all sensory neurons, but did not significantly alter motoneuron death. Thus, Hsc70 may prove to be useful in the repair of peripheral sensory nerve damage.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Animals, Newborn
  • Axons / physiology*
  • Cell Death / drug effects*
  • Ganglia, Spinal / cytology
  • Ganglia, Spinal / drug effects*
  • HSP70 Heat-Shock Proteins / pharmacology*
  • Mice
  • Motor Neurons / cytology
  • Motor Neurons / drug effects*


  • HSP70 Heat-Shock Proteins