What are heat shock proteins?

Heat shock proteins (HSPs) are functional proteins that support cellular integrity and protein production. They are present in cells where they await specific conditions to activate. Specifically, rapid temperature change or other stressors, such as intense exercise and oxygen deprivation (also exercise induced) expresses their activity. Once activated, HSPs help to fortify cells and properly “fold” newly formed proteins into specific shapes. For instance, muscle proteins must be folded into a form that can be added to growing fibers.