The effects of a short (30 min) heat shock (HS) on plants subsequently grown under a salinity stress (SS, 200 mM NaCl) for 10 d were investigated in barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) cv. Tokak 157/37. The maximum temperature for HS allowing plant survival was 45 A degrees C. The root length was significantly decreased by SS, whereas HS alone did not affect root growth. Interestingly, HS stimulated root elongation under SS. An osmotic adjustment was promoted in leaves by SS. On the contrary, HS increased the osmotic potential in leaves in the absence of SS, and partly counteracted the effect of SS in the HS+SS treatment. Cu/Zn-SOD, HvAPX, HvCAT2, HSP17, HSP18, and HSP90 were transcribed in leaves of HS-treated plants, but not in control plants. The HSP70 was constitutively transcribed in both the SS and control plants, but after HS, a shorter amplicon was also observed. The genes coding antioxidants, Cu/Zn-SOD, HvCAT2 and HvAPX, were differentially influenced by SS or HS+SS in the roots and leaves. In the roots, the mRNA content of BAS1, HvDRF1, HvMT2, and HvNHX1 increased after the HS treatment. In a recovery experiment in which plants were grown to maturity after HS and HS+SS stress exposure, the plant height increased and the time to maturity was reduced in comparison with SS. Our results show that HS could stimulate plant growth and reduce some of the negative effects of SS, and that it affected the transcription of several stress-related genes.