Introduction: Heatstroke has been defined as a form of hyperthermia associated with a systemic inflammatory response that leads to multiple organ dysfunction syndrome (MODS). It has also been documented that heat shock protein 70 (HSP70) preconditioning is able to induce thermotolerance. Here, the authors further investigated whether hypobaric hypoxia preconditioning (HHP) improved the MODS in heatstroke by up-regulation of HSP70. Methods: Anesthetized rats were randomly assigned to (a) non-HHP + nonheated group, (b) non-HHP + heated group, (c) HHP + heated group and (d) HHP + HSP70 antibodies (Abs) + heated groups. All heated groups were exposed to heat stress (43°C, 70 minutes) to induce heatstroke. For HHP, animals were exposed to 0.66 atmosphere absolute (18.3% O2) for 5 hours daily for consecutive 5 days per week for 2 weeks before the start of heat exposure. Results: HHP significantly (i) attenuated hypotension, (ii) reduced plasma index of the toxic oxidizing radicals and the organ injury indicator, (iii) attenuated plasma systemic inflammatory response molecules, (iv) reduced an index of infiltration of polymorphonuclear neutrophils in the lung like myeloper-oxidase activity, (v) promoted plasma levels of an anti-inflammatory cytokine, interleukin-10, (vi) promoted the survival time to fourfold compared with non-HHP group and (vii) promoted the overexpression of HSP70 in different organs (eg, the lung) during heatstroke. The beneficial effects of HHP could be significantly attenuated by HSP70 Ab preconditioning. Conclusion: Our results show that HHP protects rats from heat-induced MODS via up-regulating HSP70. Thus, HHP could be a novel strategy for the prevention of heatstroke animals or patients before heat exposure.
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