Metallothionein expression in the central nervous system of multiple sclerosis patients

M. Penkowa, C. Espejo, A. Ortega-Aznar, J. Hidalgo, X. Montalban, E. M. Martínez Cáceres

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47 Citations (Scopus)


Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a major chronic demyelinating and inflammatory disease of the central nervous system (CNS) in which oxidative stress likely plays a pathogenic role in the development of myelin and neuronal damage. Metallothioneins (MTs) are antioxidant proteins induced in the CNS by tissue injury, stress and some neurodegenerative diseases, which have been postulated to play a neuroprotective role. In fact, MT-I+II-deficient mice are more susceptible to developing experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), and treatment of Lewis rats with Zn-MT-II reduces EAE severity. We show here that, as in EAE, MT-I+II proteins were expressed in brain lesions of MS patients. Cells expressing MT-I+II were mainly astrocytes and activated monocytes/macrophages. Interestingly, the levels of MT-I+II were slightly increased in the inactive MS lesions in comparison with the active lesions, suggesting that MTs may be important in disease remission.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1258-1266
JournalCellular and Molecular Life Sciences
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2003


  • Antioxidant
  • Metallothionein
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Neuronal damage
  • Oxidative stress


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