For many years, research focus on metallothioneins, small zinc binding proteins found predominantly within astrocytes in the brain, has centred on their ability to indirectly protect neurons from oxygen free radicals and heavy metal-induced neurotoxicity. However, in recent years it has been demonstrated that these proteins have previously unsuspected roles within the cellular response to brain injury. The aim of this commentary is to provide an overview of the exciting recent experimental evidence from several laboratories including our own suggesting a possible extracellular role for these proteins, and to present a hypothetical model explaining the newly identified function of extracellular metallothioneins in CNS injury and repair.
|Number of pages||5|
|Publication status||Published - 2004|