Autoantibodies against certain stress or heat shock proteins (Hsps) may play a role in the pathogenesis and/or prognosis of some diseases. Using immunoblotting with human recombinant Hsps and univariate and multivariate logistic regression models, we have investigated the presence of antibodies against Hsp70, the inducible member of the 70-kDa family of heat shock proteins, and analyzed its possible association with hypertension and working conditions. Plasma and serum were collected from 764 steel mill workers from 6 work sites exposed to (1) severe noise; (2) severe noise and dust; (3) noise, dust, and heat; (4) noise and heat; (5) severe noise and heat; and (6) office conditions (control). Workers with prolonged exposure to stresses such as noise, dust, and high temperature and a combination of these in the workplace had a high incidence (26.6% to 40.2%) of antibodies to Hsp70 compared to the lowest incidence (18.6%) of antibodies to Hsp70 in the control group of office workers. Moreover, there was a statistical association of antibodies against Hsp70 with hypertension. The statistical correlation between the presence of antibodies to Hsp70 and hypertension is higher in the group of workers with blood pressure of 160/95 mmHg than in the 140/90-mmHg group after excluding possible effects of the workplace stresses. These results suggest that harsh workplace conditions can increase the production of antibodies against Hsp70 and that the presence of antibodies to this stress protein may be associated with hypertension. The precise mechanism for the elevation of antibodies against Hsps by environmental and workplace stresses and their relation to hypertension remains to be established.
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1 October 2001
Association of plasma antibodies against the inducible Hsp70 with hypertension and harsh working conditions
R. William Currie,
Robert M. Tanguay