Heat Stress in Avian Cells

  • Milton J. Schlesinger


Among the many diverse biological materials that have been utilized to study the stress response, avian cells grown in tissue culture have proved to be particularly advantageous. Monolayers of homogeneous populations of 106 to 108 fibroblasts can be prepared readily from 11-day chicken embryos and cultured for several days in relatively simple media. A stress agent, either chemical or physical, can be applied under controlled conditions for varying lengths of time and the effects on cellular morphology or metabolism easily monitored. In the specific case of a heat shock, a primary culture of chicken embryo fibroblasts “senses” the stress within minutes of a shift up in temperature that corresponds to as little as a 10% increase above the physiological temperature of the bird, which is usually around 41°C. For cells from human tissue, a temperature of 41°C is sufficient to trigger the cellular stress response (Ron and Birkenfeld, 1987). In the avian fibroblast tissue culture system, response to hyperthermic stress—as measured by enhanced transcription of heat shock genes (i.e., detection of higher levels of mRNAs) and appearance of newly synthesized heat shock proteins—is detected at 42 to 43°C with the full complement of heat shock proteins induced after 30 min at 45°C (Kelley and Schlesinger, 1978). The latter temperature is considered physiological in that the internal temperature of the adult bird reaches 45°C when the bird goes into flight.


Heat Shock Heat Stress Heat Shock Protein Heat Shock Transcription Factor Chicken Embryo Fibroblast 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • Milton J. Schlesinger
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Molecular MicrobiologyWashington University School of MedicineSt. LouisUSA

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