An evaluation of the induction of the MT II isoform following severe spinal cord trauma

Norton, N.S.; Farnham, S.B.; Dean, J.; Rodriguez Sierra, J.F.; Haghighi, S.; Ebadi, M.

FASEB Journal 15(5): A1073


ISSN/ISBN: 0892-6638
Accession: 034391804

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The Metallothionein isoforms (MTs) are low molecular weight zinc binding proteins. There are four isoforms of MT that are described. MT II is an isoform found in the brain and peripheral tissues. The regulation of the MT isoforms is important in maintaining proper levels of zinc and controlling redox. The formation of free radicals has been shown to be associated with spinal cord trauma. It has hypothesized that increased expression of MT isoforms in response to oxidative stress may provide lasting protection against oxidative damage in portions of the CNS. In this study we sought to further examine the isoforms of MT by evaluating the induction of MT II in the rat spinal cord following spinal cord trauma. In brief, a thoracic laminectomy was performed in experimental male Sprague-Dawley rats and a 50g weight placed upon the spinal cord for 3 minutes at the level of T8. All rats were carefully monitored following the spinal cord trauma until they were sacrificed and perfused. Neurological deficits were recorded in all of the experimental animals. Sections were taken from the spinal cord and examined by immunohistochemistry for the presence of MT II. MT II was found to be expressed in the sections following spinal cord trauma. The density and distribution of MT II in the cord showed a pattern of continued increase in expression which peaked at 24 hours following the trauma. After this time frame the expression of MT II began to decrease. Since MT isoforms protect against free radicals and oxidative stress caused by inflammation and tissue injury in the CNS, we hypothesize that the expression of MT II is increased in response to the spinal cord trauma in a manner that is directly proportional to increasing time which peaks at 24 hours following initial trauma.