Serum heat shock protein 70 level as a biomarker of exceptional longevity

Dellara F. Terry, Diego F. Wyszynski, Vikki G. Nolan, Gil Atzmon, Emily A. Schoenhofen, Jae Mi Y. Pennington, Stacy L. Andersen, Marsha A. Wilcox, Lindsay A. Farrer, Nir Barzilai, Clinton T. Baldwin, Alexzander Asea

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Heat shock proteins are highly conserved proteins that, when produced intracellularly, protect stress exposed cells. In contrast, extracellular heat shock protein 70 (Hsp70) has been shown to have both protective and deleterious effects. In this study, we assessed heat shock protein 70 for its potential role in human longevity. Because of the importance of HSP to disease processes, cellular protection, and inflammation, we hypothesized that: (1) Hsp70 levels in centenarians and centenarian offspring are different from controls and (2) alleles in genes associated with Hsp70 explain these differences. In this cross-sectional study, we assessed serum Hsp70 levels from participants enrolled in either the New England Centenarian Study (NECS) or the Longevity Genes Project (LGP): 87 centenarians (from LGP), 93 centenarian offspring (from NECS), and 126 controls (43 from NECS, 83 from LGP). We also examined genotypic and allelic frequencies of polymorphisms in HSP70-A1A and HSP70-A1B in 347 centenarians (266 from the NECS, 81 from the LGP), 260 NECS centenarian offspring, and 238 controls (NECS: 53 spousal controls and 106 septuagenarian offspring controls; LGP: 79 spousal controls). The adjusted mean serum Hsp70 levels (ng/mL) for the NECS centenarian offspring, LGP centenarians, LGP spousal controls, and NECS controls were 1.05, 1.13, 3.07, 6.93, respectively, suggesting that a low serum Hsp70 level is associated with longevity; however, no genetic associations were found with two SNPs within two hsp70 genes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)862-868
Number of pages7
JournalMechanisms of Ageing and Development
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2006
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors thank Susana Fiorentino for helpful discussions and Edwina Asea and Diana T. Page for expert technical assistance. This work was supported in part by the National Institute on Aging grant K08AG22785 (to DFT); Paul Beeson Physician Faculty Scholar in Aging Awards (to DFT, TP, NB), the Ellison Medical Foundation Senior Scholar Award and RO1 AG-18728-01A1 (to N.B); the National Institutes of Health grant RO1CA91889, institutional support from Scott & White Memorial Hospital and Clinic, Texas A&M University System Health Science Center College of Medicine, the Central Texas Veterans Health Administration and an Endowment from the Cain Foundation (to A.A).


  • Ageing
  • Centenarian
  • Chaperokine
  • Heat shock proteins
  • Longevity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aging
  • Developmental Biology


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