The stress gene response in brain

Stephen M. Massa, Raymond A. Swanson, Frank R Sharp

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

150 Scopus citations


Summary: Changes in gene expression in the brain in response to adverse conditions, such as ischemia or excitotoxin exposure, may be part of the injury process or represent an adaptive response which may be protective during subsequent stressful events. In this review we have considered the regulation, functions and potential relationships to the pathophysiology of ischemia of several major groups of stress-induced genes, including those of the Mr 27,000, 32,000 (heme oxygenase), 70,000 and 90,000 heat shock protein families, the glucose-regulated proteins, glucose transporters and ubiquitin. Patterns of gene expression in several injury models, including focal and global ischemia, excitotoxin/seizure-related injury and hyperthermia are reviewed. In vitro expression studies and the phenomenon of ischémie tolerance are also discussed. It is concluded that stress gene expression provides a useful marker of cellular injury, and that disjunction of mRNA and protein expression may be indicative of imminent death in cells which survive the initial insult. Though other stress proteins may play a role, it seems unlikely that neuronal hsp70 expression is a major contributor to ischémie tolerance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)95-158
Number of pages64
JournalCerebrovascular and Brain Metabolism Reviews
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1996
Externally publishedYes


  • Excitotoxicity
  • Glucose transporter
  • Glucose-regulated protein
  • Heat shock protein
  • Heme oxygenase
  • Ischemia
  • Ubiquitin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Neuroscience(all)


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