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.
|Number of pages||8|
|Journal||Journal of Neurochemistry|
|Publication status||Published - Jan 2004|