Indexed on: 10 May '07Published on: 10 May '07Published in: Acta Physiologica
Exercise-associated hyperthermia is routinely cited as the signal responsible for inducing an increased production of heat shock proteins (HSPs) following exercise. This hypothesis, however, has not been tested in human skeletal muscle. The aim of the present study was to therefore investigate the role of increased muscle and core temperature in contributing to the exercise-induced production of the major HSP families in human skeletal muscle.Seven physically active males underwent a passive heating protocol of 1 h duration during which the temperature of the core and vastus lateralis muscle were increased to similar levels to those typically occurring during moderately demanding aerobic exercise protocols. One limb was immersed in a tank containing water maintained at approximately 45 degrees C whilst the contra-lateral limb remained outside the tank and was not exposed to heat stress. Muscle biopsies were obtained from the vastus lateralis of both legs immediately prior to and at 48 h and 7 days post-heating.The heating protocol induced significant increases (P < 0.05) in rectal (1.5 +/- 0.2 degrees C) and muscle temperature of the heated leg (3.6 +/- 0.5 degrees C). Muscle temperature of the non-heated limb showed no significant change (P > 0.05) following heating (pre: 36.1 +/- 0.5, post: 35.7 +/- 0.2 degrees C). Heating failed to induce a significant increase (P > 0.05) in muscle content of HSP70, HSC70, HSP60, HSP27, alphaB-crystallin, MnSOD protein content or in the activity of superoxide dismutase and catalase.These data demonstrate that increases in both systemic and local muscle temperature per se do not appear to mediate the exercise-induced production of HSPs in human skeletal muscle and suggest that non-heat stress factors associated with contractile activity are of more importance in mediating this response.