Metallothionein-1+2 protect the CNS after a focal brain injury

Mercedes Giralt, Milena Penkowa, Natalia Lago, Amalia Molinero, Juan Hidalgo*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

126 Citations (Scopus)


We have evaluated the physiological relevance of metallothionein-1+2 (MT-1+2) in the CNS following damage caused by a focal cryolesion onto the cortex. In comparison to normal mice, transgenic mice over-expressing the MT-1 isoform (TgMTI* mice) showed a significant decrease of the number of activated microglia/macrophage and of CD3+ T lymphocytes in the area surrounding the lesion, while astrocytosis was increased. The TgMTI* mice showed a diminished peripheral macrophage but not CD3 T cell response to the cryolesion. This altered inflammatory response produced a decreased expression of the proinflammatory cytokines IL-1β, IL-6, and TNF-α and an increased expression of the growth factors bFGF, TGFβ1, and VEGF in the TgMTI* mice relative to control mice, which might be related to the increased angiogenesis and regeneration of the parenchyma of the former mice. The overexpression of MT-1 dramatically reduced the cryolesion-induced oxidative stress and neuronal apoptosis. Remarkably, these effects were also obtained by the intraperitoneal administration of MT-2 to both normal and MT-1+2 knock-out mice. These results fully support the notion that MT-1+2 are essential in the CNS for coping with focal brain injury and suggest a potential therapeutic use of these proteins. © 2002 Elsevier Science.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)114-128
JournalExperimental Neurology
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2002


  • Cryoinjury
  • Cytokines
  • Inflammatory response
  • Neuroprotection
  • Oxidative stress


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