Two metalloproteinases, collagenase and stromelysin, are produced in large quantities by synovial fibroblasts in individuals with rheumatoid arthritis. These enzymes play a major role in the extensive destruction of connective tissue seen in this disease. In this study, we show that heat shock of monolayer cultures of rabbit synovial fibroblasts increases expression of mRNA for heat shock protein 70 (HSP-70), and for collagenase and stromelysin. We found that after heat shock for 1 h at 45 degrees C, the mRNA expression for HSP-70 peaks at 1 h and returns to control levels by 3 h. Collagenase and stromelysin mRNA expression is coordinate, reaching peak levels at 3 h and returning to control levels by 10 h. The increase in mRNA is paralleled by an increase in the corresponding protein in the culture medium. 3 h of heat shock at a lower temperature (42 degrees C) is also effective in inducing collagenase and stromelysin mRNAs. Concomitant treatment with phorbol myristate acetate (PMA; 10(-8) or 10(-9) M) and heat shock is not additive or synergistic. In addition, all-trans-retinoic acid, added just before heat shock, prevents the increase in mRNAs for collagenase and stromelysin. Our data suggest that heat shock may be an additional mechanism whereby collagenase and stromelysin are increased during rheumatoid arthritis and perhaps in other chronic inflammatory stress conditions.

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