In this study, we sought to determine the distribution and expression of heat shock protein 60 (Hsp60) in the tissues of transported piglets. A total of 24 Chinese Erhualian piglets with an average body weight of 20 ± 1 kg were assessed under both 2-h transported and normal housing conditions. Results of enzymatic analysis showed that the serum creatine kinase and aspartate aminotransferase concentrations were significantly increased in the 2-h transported piglets. Acute cellular lesions characterized by granular and vacuolar degeneration of the parenchyma cells in the tested heart, liver, and kidney were also confirmed by histopathological test after 2 h transportation. These results indicate that transport stress induces tissue damage to heart, liver, and kidney. Hsp60-positive immunostaining was consistently detected in the cytoplasm of myocardial cells, hepatocytes, renal tubular epithelial cells, and epithelial cells of fundic gland. However, results of enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay indicated that Hsp60 expression was only significantly elevated in the stomach, with lower expression in the heart and a non-significant trend of increased liver and kidney expression of Hsp60. These results indicate that different tissues had different sensitivities to transport stress, possibly resulting in varying levels of cytoprotection by Hsp60 in the different tissues. The expression of Hsp60 following 2 h transportation coincided with deterioration of cardiac cytoprotection in the heart and protection in the stomach. However, the direct role of Hsp60 in cytoprotection of heart and stomach tissues needs further investigation
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