Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

Heat shock proteins are differentially expressed in brain and spinal cord: implications for multiple sclerosis

Gorter, Rianne P.; Nutma, Erik; Jahreiβ, Marie-Christina; de Jonge, Jenny C.; Quinlan, Roy; van der Valk, Paul; van Noort, Johannes M.; Baron, Wia; Amor, Sandra

Heat shock proteins are differentially expressed in brain and spinal cord: implications for multiple sclerosis Thumbnail


Rianne P. Gorter

Erik Nutma

Marie-Christina Jahreiβ

Jenny C. de Jonge

Paul van der Valk

Johannes M. van Noort

Wia Baron

Sandra Amor


Aims: Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic neurodegenerative disease characterised by demyelination, inflammation and neurodegeneration throughout the central nervous system. Although spinal cord pathology is an important factor contributing to disease progression, few studies have examined MS lesions in the spinal cord and how they differ from brain lesions. Here we have compared brain and spinal cord white and grey matter from MS and control tissues focussing on small heat shock proteins (HSPB) and HSP16.2. Methods: Western blotting was used to examine protein levels of HSPB1, HSPB5, HSPB6, HSPB8 and HSP16.2 in brain and spinal cord from MS and age‐matched non‐neurological controls. Immunohistochemistry was used to examine expression of the HSPs in MS spinal cord lesions and controls. Expression levels were quantified using ImageJ. Results: Western blotting revealed significantly higher levels of HSPB1, HSPB6 and HSPB8 in MS and control spinal cord compared to brain tissues. No differences in HSPB5 and HSP16.2 protein levels were observed although HSPB5 protein levels were higher in brain WM versus GM. In MS spinal cord lesions, increased HSPB1 and HSPB5 expression was observed in astrocytes, and increased neuronal expression of HSP16.2 was observed in normal appearing grey matter and type 1 grey matter lesions. Conclusions: The high constitutive expression of several HSPBs in spinal cord and increased expression of HSPBs and HSP16.2 in MS illustrate differences between brain and spinal cord in health and upon demyelination. Regional differences in HSP expression may reflect differences in astrocyte cytoskeleton composition and influence inflammation, possibly affecting the effectiveness of pharmacological agents.


Gorter, R. P., Nutma, E., Jahreiβ, M., de Jonge, J. C., Quinlan, R., van der Valk, P., …Amor, S. (2018). Heat shock proteins are differentially expressed in brain and spinal cord: implications for multiple sclerosis. Clinical and Experimental Immunology, 194(2), 137-152.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jul 11, 2018
Online Publication Date Sep 19, 2018
Publication Date Nov 1, 2018
Deposit Date Jul 23, 2018
Publicly Available Date Oct 22, 2018
Journal Clinical and Experimental Immunology
Print ISSN 0009-9104
Electronic ISSN 1365-2249
Publisher Oxford University Press
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 194
Issue 2
Pages 137-152


Published Journal Article (1.3 Mb)

Publisher Licence URL

Copyright Statement
© 2018 The Authors. Clinical & Experimental Immunology published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of British Society for Immunology. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs License, which permits use and distribution<br /> in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, the use is non-commercial and no modifications or adaptations are made.

You might also like

Downloadable Citations