Byline: Tomohiro Ito, Takahiro Maeda, Kazunori Goto, Takehito Miura, Koji Wakame, Hiroshi Nishioka, Atsuya Sato Keywords: asparagus extract; functional food; functional properties; handling stress Abstract A novel enzyme-treated asparagus extract (ETAS) has been developed as a functional material produced from asparagus stem. Studies were conducted to determine the effect of ETAS on heat shock protein 70 (HSP70) expression and alleviation of stress. HeLa cells were treated with ETAS, and HSP70 mRNA and protein levels were measured using a reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) assay and an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), respectively. ETAS showed significant increases in HSP70 mRNA at more than 0.125 mg/mL and the protein at more than 1.0 mg/mL. The antistress effect was evaluated in a murine sleep-deprivation model. A sleep-deprivation stress load resulted in elevation of blood corticosterone and lipid peroxide concentrations, while supplementation with ETAS at 200 and 1000 mg/kg body weight was associated with significantly reduced levels of both stress markers, which were in the normal range. The HSP70 protein expression level in mice subjected to sleep-deprivation stress and supplemented with ETAS was significantly enhanced in stomach, liver, and kidney, compared to ETAS-untreated mice. A preliminary and small-sized human study was conducted among healthy volunteers consuming up to 150 mg/d of ETAS daily for 7 d. The mRNA expression of HSP70 in peripheral leukocytes was significantly elevated at intakes of 100 or 150 mg/d, compared to their baseline levels. Since HSP70 is known to be a stress-related protein and its induction leads to cytoprotection, the present results suggest that ETAS might exert antistress effects under stressful conditions, resulting from enhancement of HSP70 expression.