Neuron-glia communication: Metallothionein expression is specifically up-regulated by astrocytes in response to neuronal injury

Roger S. Chung*, Paul A. Adlard, Justin Dittmann, James C. Vickers, Meng Inn Chuah, Adrian K. West

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

62 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Recent data suggests that metallothioneins (MTs) are major neuroprotective proteins within the CNS. In this regard, we have recently demonstrated that MT-IIA (the major human MT-I/-II isoform) promotes neural recovery following focal cortical brain injury. To further investigate the role of MTs in cortical brain injury, MT-I/-II expression was examined in several different experimental models of cortical neuron injury. While MT-I/-II immunoreactivity was not detectable in the uninjured rat neocortex, by 4 days, following a focal cortical brain injury, MT-I/-II was found in astrocytes aligned along the injury site. At latter time points, astrocytes, at a distance up to several hundred microns from the original injury tract, were MT-I/-II immunoreactive. Induced MT-I/-II was found both within the cell body and processes. Using a cortical neuron/astrocyte co-culture model, we observed a similar MT-I/-II response following in vitro injury. Intriguingly, scratch wound injury in pure astrocyte cultures resulted in no change in MT-I/-II expression. This suggests that MT induction was specifically elicited by neuronal injury. Based upon recent reports indicating that MT-I/-II are major neuroprotective proteins within the brain, our results provide further evidence that MT-I/-II plays an important role in the cellular response to neuronal injury.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)454-461
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Neurochemistry
Volume88
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2004
Externally publishedYes

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