Heat shock proteins (hsps) play complex role in the function of the immune system, they can activate both humoral and cellular immune response, as well the complement system. Although autoimmunity to hsp70 was implicated in certain autoimmune diseases and other conditions, the exact role of anti-hsp70 antibodies is not known. It was demonstrated by our previous work and other's findings that antibodies against the 60 kDa hsps are strongly associated with coronary atherosclerosis and carotis disease. It is also known that there is increased hsp70 expression at different sites of atherosclerosis. Therefore our aim was to study whether level of anti-hsp70 antibodies correlate with the presence of severe coronary artery disease (CAD). We measured and compared anti-hsp70 IgG antibody levels in CAD patients (n = 99) and healthy subjects (n = 99) with ELISA. The frequency of these antibodies was high in both groups and there was no significant difference in the median level of anti-hsp70 antibodies between patients with severe CAD and controls (653 (400-1141) vs. 630 (326-1152) AU/mL, P = 0.337). Adjustment for age, sex, BMI and lipid parameters did not change this result. Furthermore we did not find a correlation between anti-hsp70 antibody levels and certain risk factors of CAD (age, lipid parameters, body mass index, C-reactive protein, gender, smoking, diabetes and anti-hsp60 antibodies). By contrast, in accordance with our previous findings, anti-hsp60 and anti-hsp65 antibody levels were significantly higher in CAD patients, compared to this control group (p < 0.0001 for both variables). We did not find any correlation between the levels of anti-hsp70 and anti-hsp60 or anti-hsp65 antibodies either in the patients or the controls. The exact role of hsp70 in atherosclerosis is controversial, but we suggest that humoral immunity against human hsp70 does not contribute to coronary atherosclerosis in contrast to antibodies against 60 kDa hsps.
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