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More MS news articles for July 2003

Metallothionein expression in the central nervous system of multiple sclerosis patients

Cell Mol Life Sci. 2003 Jun;60(6):1258-66
Penkowa M, Espejo C, Ortega-Aznar A, Hidalgo J, Montalban X, Martinez Caceres EM.
The Panum Institute, Department of Medical Anatomy, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark.

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.