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Korean J Biol Psychiatry. 2007 Nov;14(4):221-231. Korean. Review.
Oh DH , Yang BH , Choi J .
Department of Neuropsychiatry and Mental Health Institute, College of Medicine, Hanyang University, Seoul, Korea.

Recent researches have shown that important cellular-based autoprotective mechanisms are mediated by heat-shock proteins(HSPs), also called 'molecular chaperones'. HSPs as molecular chaperones are the primary cellular defense mechanism against damage to the proteome, initiating refolding of denatured proteins and regulating degradation after severe protein damage. HSPs also modulate multiple events within apoptotic pathways to help sustain cell survival following damaging stimuli. HSPs are induced by almost every type of stresses including physical and psychological stresses. Our nervous system in the brain are more vulnerable to stress and damage than any other tissues due to HSPs insufficiency. The normal function of HSPs is a key factor for endogenous stress adaptation of neural tissues. HSPs play an important role in the process of neurodevelopment, neurodegeneration, and neuroendocrine regulation. The altered function of HSPs would be associated with the development of several neuropsychiatric disorders. Therefore, an understanding of HSPs activities could help to improve autoprotective mechanism of our neural system. This paper will review the literature related to the significance of HSPs in neuropsychiatric field.

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