Neuroprotection and regeneration by extracellular metallothionein via lipoprotein-receptor-related proteins

Adrian K. West*, Jacqueline Y K Leung, Roger S. Chung

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


Metallothionein has a well-documented protective and proregenerative effect in the mammalian brain, particularly following physical trauma and ischemia or during the onset of neurodegenerative disease. A range of mechanisms have been established for this, including metallothionein's metal binding properties and its ability to scavenge free radicals. In recent years it has become apparent that metallothionein is present in the extracellular compartment of the central nervous system and that it can interact with cell surface receptors of the lipoproteinreceptor-related protein family, including lipoproteinreceptor- related protein 1 (LRP1) and megalin. These interactions activate intracellular pathways which are consistent with many of the observed effects of metallothionein in the central nervous system, including its effects on neurons, glial cells, and cells of the immune system. The evidence describing the release, receptor interactions, and subsequent physiological consequences of metallothionein is discussed in this review.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1115-1122
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Biological Inorganic Chemistry
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2011
Externally publishedYes


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