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New means of protection against sepsis

Scientists from six Scientific-Research Institutes in Puschino, Moscow and St. Petersburg have jointly undertaken a research effort to investigate the HSP70 heat shock protein’s ability to prevent development of septic shock.

Sepsis remains the main death cause in clinics of intensive therapy despite many years of scientists’ continuous research. In the USA and European countries, sepsis develops annually with over 500,000 patients, on top of that the number of confirmed cases is growing by 1.5% every year. Sepsis occurs as a result of the activity of endotoxins, Lipopolysaccharides of bacteria.

Endotoxins stimulate immune system cells, and in the long run this causes hormonal and biochemical dysfunctions of the main bodily organs, in particular, the liver and kidneys. The body tries to protect itself with the help of different means including the heat shock protein. The heat shock protein protects cells and the overall organism against various diseases, including ischemia, inflammation, cancer, as well as metabolic or neurodegenerative diseases. Since that time there have been developed various methods of getting and clearing one of the heat shock proteins - HSP70 - which scientists are currently trying to accommodate for therapeutic purposes. Russian experts have investigated the effect of the HSP70 as the sepsis prevention factor on rats.

The scientists simulated sepsis having injected endotoxins intravenously - Lipopolysaccharide of the Colibacillus, or Salmonella. Ten minutes before or 10 minutes after the endotoxin injection, the rats would be injected the heat shock protein, derived from the bull muscles and thoroughly refined. The reference group rats were injected the physiological solution. The researchers took measurements of the blood biochemical parameters of the laboratory animals, such as glucose and the whole protein concentration, albumin, triglycerides, creatinine and bilirubin tests. The blood tests would be taken in some cases before the injection, in other cases - 20 minutes after and in some other cases - 5 hours after the injection. Before the experiment the scientists had confirmed that the heat shock protein itself did not impact the blood composition, therefore it was harmless.

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The experiment proved the following: if the heat shock protein is injected 10 minutes before the infection, it produces positive protective effect and stabilizes some of the blood indexes. If the protein is injected after the endotoxin injection, the effect is much weaker. In this case, the protein positively affects values of two blood indexes only: concentration of the whole protein and albumin, and only provided that the Escherichia coli endotoxin was used for the injection.

However, the researchers believe that the discovered heat shock protein’s antiseptic effect is an important factor in terms of possibility to reduce the animal death-rate caused by endotoxins of different origins. They assume that later on this protein can be used to produce a drug or as a preventive protection agent against sepsis in human beings treatment.

Nadezda Markina | alfa
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