J. Neurochem. (2010) 115, 1035–1044.
Heat shock protein 70 kDa (Hsp70) possesses a remarkable neuroprotective activity and the results of recent studies demonstrated its efficacy in the attenuation of epileptic seizures. The aim of this study was to explore the effects of a pure Hsp70/Hsc70 preparation delivered to the brain regions involved in generalized seizures induced in rats by intracerebroventricular microinjections of NMDA or systemic injections of pentylenetetrazole. Purified Hsp70/Hsc70 was administered (intracerebroventricular) 2 h before the induction of seizures. Compared to the vehicle-treated control animals, Hsp70/Hsc70-pretreated rats demonstrated reduced severity of NMDA- and pentylenetetrazole-induced seizures. To identify the brain structures potentially implicated in the Hsp70/Hsc70-mediated anticonvulsant effect, we analysed the localization of a fluorescently-labelled chaperone in the brain. Labelled Hsp70/Hsc70 was found in neurons and terminals of the limbic seizure complex of the brain and was co-localized in these regions with NMDA receptors, synaptophysin and the GABA-synthesizing enzyme, L-glutamic acid decarboxylase 67. An immunoprecipitation assay confirmed interactions between Hsp70 and both synaptophysin and L-glutamic acid decarboxylase 67 in brain tissue. We suggest that the anticonvulsant effect of exogenous Hsp70/Hsc70 is not only based on its protective capacity but is also related to its ability to modulate GABA neurotransmission, which in turn contributes to the maintenance of the excitatory-inhibitory balance of the CNS.