Although severe stress can elicit toxicity, mild stress often elicits adaptations. Here we review the literature on stress-induced adaptations versus stress sensitization in models of neurodegenerative diseases. We also describe our recent findings that chronic proteotoxic stress can elicit adaptations if the dose is low but that high-dose proteotoxic stress sensitizes cells to subsequent challenges. In these experiments, long-term, low-dose proteasome inhibition elicited protection in a superoxide dismutase-dependent manner. In contrast, acute, high-dose proteotoxic stress sensitized cells to subsequent proteotoxic challenges by eliciting catastrophic loss of glutathione. However, even in the latter model of synergistic toxicity, several defensive proteins were upregulated by severe proteotoxicity. This led us to wonder whether high-dose proteotoxic stress can elicit protection against subsequent challenges in astrocytes, a cell type well known for their resilience. In support of this new hypothesis, we found that the astrocytes that survived severe proteotoxicity became harder to kill. The adaptive mechanism was glutathione dependent. If these findings can be generalized to the human brain, similar endogenous adaptations may help explain why neurodegenerative diseases are so delayed in appearance and so slow to progress. In contrast, sensitization to severe stress may explain why defenses eventually collapse in vulnerable neurons.
Leak, Rehana K.
"ADAPTATION AND SENSITIZATION TO PROTEOTOXIC STRESS,"
Dose-Response: An International Journal:
1, Article 3.
Available at: http://scholarworks.umass.edu/dose_response/vol12/iss1/3