Cellular and Molecular Biology


Time-course expression of metallothioneins and tissue metals in chronic relapsing form of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis

Hrvoje Jakovac1*, Damir Grebić2*, Marin Tota3, Vesna Barac-Latas1, Ines Mrakovčić-Šutić1, Čedomila Milin3 and Biserka Radošević-Stašić1

Departments of 1Physiology and Immunology, 2Surgery and 3Chemistry and Biochemistry, Medical Faculty, University of Rijeka, Rijeka, Croatia
*These authors equally contributed to this work.

Offprint requests to: Biserka Radosevic-Stasic, Medical School, University of Rijeka, B. Branchetta 22, 51000 Rijeka, Croatia. e-mail: biserr@medri.hr

Summary. To elucidate the role of metallothioneins (MTs) in the pathomechanisms of autoimmune CNS disorders we estimated the expression of MTs I+II and the tissue concentrations of Zn2+ and Cu2+ in the brain, spinal cord (SC) and in the liver during the periods of attacks and remissions in chronic relapsing experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (CR-EAE). Disease was induced in the genetically susceptible Dark Agouti (DA) rats by subcutaneous injection of bovine brain homogenate in CFA. Control rats were treated with CFA. The data, obtained by clinical assessment, immunohistochemistry and inductivity coupled plasma spectrometry, have shown that during the first attack (on the 12th day) MTs I+II were markedly upregulated in subarachnoid regions and perivascular space on astrocytes, microglia and on spinal neurons. Simultaneously, the concentrations of zinc in the SC and zinc and copper in the liver have found to be increased. During the second attack (on the 22nd day) a new overexpression of MTs was found in the cerebellum, in sulcus hippocampi, in spinal neurons and particularly in hepatocytes around the central vein. Concomitantly, in the brain and SC the concentration of copper increased.
The data point to a neuroprotective role of MTs and to an important regulatory role of essential metals and hepatic MTs in the pathogenesis of CR-EAE
. Histol Histopathol 26, 233-245 (2011)

Key words: Chronic relapsing experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis, Metallothioneins I+II, Zinc, Copper, CNS, Liver

DOI: 10.14670/HH-26.233