Indexed on: 03 Feb '15Published on: 03 Feb '15Published in: Journal of Neurochemistry
The olfactory bulb is one of the most vulnerable brain regions in age-related proteinopathies. Proteinopathic stress is mitigated by the heat shock protein (Hsp) family of chaperones. Here, we describe age-related decreases in Hsc70 in the olfactory bulb of the female rat and higher levels of Hsp70 and Hsp25 in middle and old age than at 2-4 months. To model proteotoxic and oxidative stress in the olfactory bulb, primary olfactory bulb cultures were treated with the proteasome inhibitors lactacystin and MG132 or the pro-oxidant paraquat. Toxin-induced increases were observed in Hsp70, Hsp25, and Hsp32. To determine the functional consequences of the increase in Hsp70, we attenuated Hsp70 activity with two mechanistically distinct inhibitors. The Hsp70 inhibitors greatly potentiated the toxicity of sublethal lactacystin or MG132 but not of paraquat. Although ubiquitinated protein levels were unchanged with aging in vivo or with sublethal MG132 in vitro, there was a large, synergistic increase in ubiquitinated proteins when proteasome and Hsp70 functions were simultaneously inhibited. Our study suggests that olfactory bulb cells rely heavily on Hsp70 chaperones to maintain homeostasis during mild proteotoxic, but not oxidative insults, and that Hsp70 prevents the accrual of ubiquitinated proteins in these cells. The olfactory bulb is affected in the early phases of many age-related neurodegenerative disorders. Here, we described the impact of aging on multiple heat shock proteins (Hsps), such as Hsp70, in the female rat olfactory bulb in vivo. Using multiple proteasome and Hsp70 inhibitors (see schematic), we found that proteotoxicity elicited a compensatory increase in Hsp70 in primary olfactory bulb cells in vitro. Hsp70 then reduced the proteotoxic buildup of ubiquitinated proteins and robustly protected against cell death according to three independent viability assays. Thus, olfactory bulb neurons can mount impressive natural adaptations to proteotoxic injury, perhaps explaining why neurodegenerative disorders are so delayed in onset and so slow to progress.