Whole body hyperthermia and preconditioning of the heart: Basic concepts, complexity, and potential mechanisms

L. Xi, D. Tekin, P. Bhargava, R. C. Kukreja

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


Whole body hyperthermia (WBH) is a distinctive pathophysiological condition with significant impact on tissue metabolism and organ functions. WBH has been investigated as a promising adjunct therapy to the conventional chemo- or radiotherapy for treating certain types of cancer. Numerous studies have shown that WBH is associated with induction of heat shock proteins (HSPs), which in turn modulate cellular survival or death. A brief period of WBH (40-42°C; 15-20 min) can induce delayed protection against lethal endotoxemia as well as various forms of injury in brain, heart, liver, lungs, small intestine, and skeletal muscle. This review article focuses on discussing the WBH-induced myocardial protection against ischemia/reperfusion injury. Most recently, possible involvement of protein kinase C, mitogen-activated protein kinases, nitric oxide, ATP-sensitive potassium channels, and neural peptides in the signal transduction pathways has been demonstrated. On the other hand, whether HSPs or antioxidant enzymes are the primary end-effector of the cardioprotection continues to be a matter of ongoing debates. It has also been recognized that the complex nature of WBH may be the responsible factor for the discordant results among various studies, especially across different animal species or strains, in terms of the time course and potency of WBH-induced cardioprotection. Nevertheless, a better understanding of the WBH-elicited myocardial ischemic resistance may have a wide spectrum of clinical implications as well as insightful inputs into the hyperthermic biology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)439-455
Number of pages17
JournalInternational Journal of Hyperthermia
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • Antioxidants
  • Delayed preconditioning
  • Heat shock proteins
  • K channel
  • MAP kinases
  • Protein kinase C
  • Signal transduction
  • Whole body heat shock

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)
  • Cancer Research


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