Purpose: Heat stress induces complex cellular responses, and its detailed molecular mechanisms still remain to be clarified. The objective of this study was to investigate the molecular mechanisms underlying cellular responses to mild hyperthermia (MHT) in normal human fibroblastic (NHF) cells. Materials and methods: Cells were treated with MHT (41°C, 30min) and then cultured at 37°C. Gene expression was determined by the GeneChip® system and bioinformatics tools. Results: Treatment of the NHF cell lines, Hs68 and OUMS-36, with MHT did not affect the cell viability or cell cycle. In contrast, many probe sets were differentially expressed by >1.5-fold in both cell lines after MHT treatment. Of the 1,196 commonly and differentially expressed probe sets analysed by k-means clustering, three gene clusters, Up-I, Down-I and Down-II, were observed. Interestingly, two gene networks were obtained from the up-regulated genes in cluster Up-I. The gene network E contained DDIT3 and HSPA5 and was mainly associated with the biological process of endoplasmic reticulum stress, while the network S contained HBEGF and LIF and was associated with the biological process of cell survival. Eighteen genes were validated by quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction, consistent with the microarray data, in four kinds of NHF cells. Conclusions: Common genes that were differentially expressed and/or acted within a gene network in response to MHT in NHF cells were identified. These findings provide the molecular basis for a further understanding of the mechanisms of the MHT response in NHF cells.
ASJC Scopus subject areas