Oxygen radicals induce stress proteins and tolerance to oxidative stress in human lymphocytes

M. Marini, F. Frabetti, D. Musiani, C. Franceschi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A set of eight proteins is induced in peripheral blood lymphocytes from normal donors by exposure to hydrogen peroxide or to xanthine oxidase plus hypoxanthine. Four of them (hsp90, hsp72 and proteins 65 and 50 kDa) are also expressed after heat shock, together with proteins 110, 100 and 38 kDa. Among proteins induced after oxidative stress is a 32 kDa protein - probably corresponding to heme oxgenase-1 (HO-1) - and a 27 kDa protein, both known to be induced by reactive oxygen species. Although ionizing radiation is known to generate a number of pro-oxidant intermediates, using our one-dimensional electrophoresis system we can detect no differences in the proteins synthesized after exposure to γ-ray doses between 5 and 20 Gy as compared with control cells. Pre-exposure to a mild hyperthermia or to moderate oxidative stress significantly increases survival of lymphocytes challenged with high doses of reactive oxygen species, in conditions compatible with a protective role exerted by stress proteins. The increase in survival is accompanied by the maintenance of the proliferative capacity of the cells. The physiological role played by stress proteins in prevention and repair of damage and the relationships between stress protein induction, oxidative state, proliferation and mode of cell death are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)337-350
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of Radiation Biology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1996

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Nuclear Energy and Engineering
  • Radiation


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