Cell Stress and Chaperones

, Volume 19, Issue 4, pp 519–527 | Cite as

The effect of heat stress on skeletal muscle contractile properties

  • Marius LockeEmail author
  • Carlo Celotti
Original Paper


An elevated heat-shock protein (HSP) content protects cells and tissues, including skeletal muscles, from certain stressors. We determined if heat stress and the elevated HSP content that results is correlated with protection of contractile characteristics of isolated fast and slow skeletal muscles when contracting at elevated temperatures. To elevate muscle HSP content, one hindlimb of Sprague–Dawley rats (21–28 days old, 70–90 g) was subjected to a 15 min 42 °C heat-stress. Twenty-four hours later, both extensor digitorum longus (EDL) and soleus muscles were removed, mounted in either 20 °C or 42 °C Krebs-Ringer solution, and electrically stimulated. Controls consisted of the same muscles from the contra-lateral (non-stressed) hindlimbs as well as muscles from other (unstressed) animals. Isolated muscles were twitched and brought to tetanus every 5 min for 30 min. As expected, HSP content was elevated in muscles from the heat-stressed limbs when compared with controls. Regardless of prior treatment, both EDL and soleus twitch tensions were lower at 42 °C when compared with 20 °C. In addition, when incubated at 42 °C, both muscles showed a drop in twitch tension between 5 and 30 min. For tetanic tension, both muscles also showed an increase in tension between 5 and 30 min when stimulated at 20 °C regardless of treatment but when stimulated at 42 °C no change was observed. No protective effect of an elevated HSP content was observed for either muscle. In conclusion, although heat stress caused an elevation in HSP content, no protective effects were conferred to isolated contracting muscles.


Heat stress Hsp25 Hsp72 Skeletal muscle Contraction Rat In vitro 


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Copyright information

© Cell Stress Society International 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Kinesiology and Physical EducationUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada

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