Induction of heat shock response leads to apoptosis in endothelial cells previously exposed to endotoxin

T. G. Buchman*, P. A. Abello, E. H. Smith, G. B. Bulkley

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

115 Scopus citations


The homeostatic response of complex eukaryotes to the challenge of environmental stress includes the induction of several programs of gene expression; among them are those for the acute phase genes and those for the heat shock genes. In some systems, the heat shock response, which is often elicited by more severe stimuli, preempts the acute phase response, which is seen in response to less severe challenges, as well as constitutive gene expression. Nevertheless, each response appears to provide a natural selective advantage for survival of the organism in a toxic environment. However, when cultured porcine endothelial cells were exposed first to a nonlethal level of bacterial endotoxin lipopolysaccharide (LPS), an inducer of the acute phase response, and then, simultaneously to standard stimuli, which normally elicit a salutary heat shock response, the cells died manifesting a pattern of DNA fragmentation (nucleolysis) characteristic of programmed cell death (apoptosis). The treatment of LPS-exposed cells with cycloheximide to block protein synthesis reproduced the lethal apoptosis that had been elicited by the induction of heat shock gene expression. Therefore, the preemption of other programs of stress gene expression by the prioritized expression of heat shock genes is associated with apoptosis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)H165-H170
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Heart and Circulatory Physiology
Issue number1 34-1
StatePublished - 1993
Externally publishedYes


  • endothelium
  • lipopolysaccharide
  • programmed cell death


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