In vitro and ex vivo tissue models provide a useful level of biological organization for cytoprotection studies positioned between cultured cells and intact animals. We have used 2 such models, primary tissue cultures of winter flounder renal secretory epithelium and ex vivo preparations of rat intestinal tissues, the latter to access the microcirculation of exposed mesentery tissues. Herein we discuss studies indicating that differentiated functions are altered in thermotolerant or cytoprotected tissues. These functions include transepithelial transport in renal epithelium and attachment and transmigration of leukocytes across vascular endothelium in response to mediators of inflammation. Evidence pointing to inflammation as a major venue for the heat shock response in vertebrates continues to mount. One such venue is wound healing. Heat shock proteins are induced early in wound responses, and some are released into the extracellular wound fluid where they appear to function as proinflammatory cytokines. However, within responding cells in the wound, heat shock proteins contribute to the acquisition of a state of cytoprotection that protects cells from the hostile environment of the wound, an environment created to destroy pathogens and essentially sterilize the wound. We propose that the cytoprotected state is an anti-inflammatory state that contributes to limiting the inflammatory response; that is, it serves as a brake on inflammation.