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Special Issue "Extracellular Heat Shock Proteins as Regulator of the Immune System"

A special issue of International Journal of Molecular Sciences (ISSN 1422-0067). This special issue belongs to the section "Molecular Immunology".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 December 2021.

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Michael Roth
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Pneumology, University Hospital Basel & Pulmonary Cell Research, Department Biomedicine, University of Basel, Petersgraben 4, CH-4031 Basel, Switzerland
Interests: tissue remodeling in chronic lung diseases; asthma; COPD; lung fibrosis; epi-genetics; cell signaling; cell differentiation; epithelial cells; fibroblasts; airway smooth muscle cells
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Dr. Fang Lei
E-Mail Website
Co-Guest Editor
Dept. Biomedicine, Pulmonary Cell Research, University of Basel, Hebelstrasse 20, CH-4031 Basel, Switzerland
Interests: airway remodeling; smooth muscle cells; asthma

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Heat shock proteins (HSPs) were first described in 1962 as temperature-sensitive proteins in Drosophila. HSPs have mainly been studied as intracellular proteins, helping other proteins to maintain their structure and function under stress conditions, including physiological stress, mechanical stress, environmental stress (heat, cold, UV-light), and infections. In 1991, it was reported that extracellular HSPs activate gamma-delta T-lymphocytes.

The HSPs of microorganisms such as Chlamydia induce the formation of antibodies to human HSPs, leading to an auto-immune reaction, which is associated with the chronic inflammation observed in rheumatic disorders, cardiovascular diseases and others.

Circulating HSP60 has been linked to increased pro-inflammatory cytokine levels in patients with coronary heart diseases, and obesity. In contrast, circulating HSP70 protected against cardiovascular disease. However, serum HSP70 correlated with chronic glomerulonephritis, and hepatic dysfunction.

The contribution of extracellular HSPs to health and disease is not well understood and requires further investigation. The action of extracellular HSPs is most likely modified by the presence of anti-HSP antibodies, and the ratio between these two factors and their consequences in chronic inflammatory diseases remains incompletely understood.

Therefore, we are collecting manuscripts investigating the function and signal mediation pathways of extracellular HSPs and anti-HSP antibodies in the context of chronic inflammation.

Prof. Dr. Michael Roth
Guest Editor
Dr. Fang Lei
Co-Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. International Journal of Molecular Sciences is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. There is an Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal. For details about the APC please see here. Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • Circulating/extracellular heat shock protein (HSP)
  • Chronic inflammation
  • Autoimmune diseases
  • Chronic inflammatory
  • lung diseases (asthma, COPD)
  • Fibrosis
  • Rheumatism
  • Diabetes
  • Cardiovascular diseases
  • Neurology
  • Obesity

Published Papers (1 paper)

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Extracellular Heat Shock Proteins as Therapeutic Targets and Biomarkers in Fibrosing Interstitial Lung Diseases
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(17), 9316; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms22179316 - 27 Aug 2021
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Interstitial lung diseases (ILDs) include a large number of diseases and causes with variable outcomes often associated with progressive fibrosis. Although each of the individual fibrosing ILDs are rare, collectively, they affect a considerable number of patients, representing a significant burden of disease. [...] Read more.
Interstitial lung diseases (ILDs) include a large number of diseases and causes with variable outcomes often associated with progressive fibrosis. Although each of the individual fibrosing ILDs are rare, collectively, they affect a considerable number of patients, representing a significant burden of disease. Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is the typical chronic fibrosing ILD associated with progressive decline in lung. Other fibrosing ILDs are often associated with connective tissues diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis-ILD (RA-ILD) and systemic sclerosis-associated ILD (SSc-ILD), or environmental/drug exposure. Given the vast number of progressive fibrosing ILDs and the disparities in clinical patterns and disease features, the course of these diseases is heterogeneous and cannot accurately be predicted for an individual patient. As a consequence, the discovery of novel biomarkers for these types of diseases is a major clinical challenge. Heat shock proteins (HSPs) are molecular chaperons that have been extensively described to be involved in fibrogenesis. Their extracellular forms (eHSPs) have been recently and successfully used as therapeutic targets or circulating biomarkers in cancer. The current review will describe the role of eHSPs in fibrosing ILDs, highlighting the importance of these particular stress proteins to develop new therapeutic strategies and discover potential biomarkers in these diseases. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Extracellular Heat Shock Proteins as Regulator of the Immune System)
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