Hyperthermia increases levels of nuclear-associated proteins in a manner that correlates with cell killing. If the increase in nuclear-associated proteins represents a lethal lesion then treatments that protect against killing by heat should reduce and/or facilitate the recovery of levels of the proteins in heated cells. This hypothesis was tested using three heat protection treatments: cycloheximide, D2 O, and thermotolerance. All three treatments reduced levels of the proteins measured immediately following hyperthermia at 43.0 or 45.5°C, with the greatest reduction occurring at 43.0°C. In addition to reducing the proteins, thermotolerance facilitated the recovery of the proteins to control levels following hyperthermia. Thus thermotolerance may protect cells by both reducing the initial heat damage and facilitating recovery from that damage. Cycyloheximide and D2 O did not facilitate recovery of nuclear-associated proteins, suggesting that their protection against cytotoxicity related to the proteins resulted solely from their reduction of increases in levels of the proteins. All three treatments have been shown to stabilize cellular proteins against thermal denaturation. The results of this study suggest that the increase in nuclear-associated proteins may result from thermally denatured proteins adhering to the nucleus and that it is the ability of cycloheximide, D2 O, and thermotolerance to thermostabilize proteins that reduces the increase in levels of the proteins within heated cells.

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