Alfieri, R. R., Bonelli, M. A., Pedrazzi, G., Desenzani, S., Ghillani, M., Fumarola, C., Ghibelli, L., Borghetti, A. F. and Petronini, P. G. Increased Levels of Inducible HSP70 in Cells Exposed to Electromagnetic Fields. Radiat. Res. 165, 95–104 (2006).
Because reports in the literature on the effects of electromagnetic fields (EMFs) on expression of the 70-kDa heat-shock protein (HSP70) are somewhat contradictory, we studied the influence of low-frequency EMFs on the accumulation of inducible HSP70 in several cell models. Some of the cell types tested showed increased levels of HSP70 protein when exposed for 24 h to 50 Hz, 680 μT EMFs. In endothelial cells, EMFs alone induced only a poor and transient activation of the heat-shock transcription factor 1 (HSF1); however, neither the level of HSP70 mRNA nor the synthesis of HSP70 appeared to be altered significantly. Accordingly, transfection experiments involving HSP70 promoter showed that gene transcription was not affected. We also noted a marked reduction in proteasome activities in cell extracts exposed to EMFs. Interestingly, the heat-shock-induced levels of HSP70 mRNA and protein were increased by a concomitant weak stressor like EMFs. Taken together, our results indicate that in EMF-exposed endothelial cells, HSP70 gene transcription and translation are unaffected; however, EMFs alone promoted accumulation of the inducible HSP70 protein, probably by increasing its stability, and it enhanced accumulation and translation of the heat-induced HSP70 mRNA when applied in concert with heat shock.