Background and Objectives: Heat shock protein (HSP) 72, a known chaperone, has potential epithelial barrier protecting, antiapoptotic, and immune system regulatory effects; therefore, our aim was to study its involvement in the pathology of celiac disease (CD).
Patients and Methods: Duodenal biopsy specimens were collected from children with untreated and treated CD and from controls. mRNA expression, protein level, and localization of HSP72 were determined.
Results: Elevated HSP72 mRNA expression and higher protein levels were found in the duodenal mucosa of children with untreated CD as well as in children with treated CD compared with those in controls. In the duodenal mucosa of children with treated CD, HSP72 mRNA expression was decreased and HSP72 protein levels were lower than those in children with untreated CD. We detected intensive HSP72 staining in the villous enterocytes and immune cells of the lamina propria in the duodenal villi of children with untreated CD compared with that in controls.
Conclusions: The increased expression and altered localization of HSP72 in CD indicate that HSP72 should have a role in protection against gliadin-induced cytotoxicity. HSP72 may exert antiapoptotic effect and contribute to preservation of intestinal epithelial barrier integrity. Moreover, HSP72 as a ligand of TLR2 and TLR4 may promote innate immune responses and warn the cells of the potential injury.