Time-course expression of CNS inflammatory, neurodegenerative tissue repair markers and metallothioneins during experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis

Neuroscience. 2005;132(4):1135-49. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2005.01.057.


Experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) is an animal model for multiple sclerosis (MS). EAE and MS are characterized by CNS inflammation, demyelination and neurodegeneration. The inflammatory response occurring within the CNS leads to glial activation, dysfunction and death, as well as axonal damage and neurological deficit. Although the pathogenic mechanisms involved in EAE/MS are not well understood, accumulating data suggest that oxidative stress plays a major role in lesion development, and contributes to axonal dysfunction and degeneration. Metallothionein-I and -II are anti-inflammatory, neuroprotective, antioxidant proteins expressed during EAE and MS, in which they might play a protective role. The present study aimed to describe the expression profile of a group of inflammatory, neurodegenerative and tissue repair markers as well as metallothioneins during proteolipid protein-induced EAE, and to establish the time-relationships these molecules had during EAE. Interestingly, we found two marker expression profiles. In the first, marker expression increased as clinical signs worsened and reverted to baseline expression during recovery; in the second, marker expression increased at a later point during relapse, peaked at highest clinical score, and remained elevated throughout recovery. Of note, metallothionein expression was found to be related to the second profile, which would suggest that metallothionein proteins are implicated in the clinical recovery of EAE and perhaps these antioxidant proteins may provide therapeutic benefits in MS.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Apoptosis / physiology
  • Biomarkers
  • Central Nervous System / pathology
  • Central Nervous System / physiopathology*
  • Cytokines / biosynthesis*
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Encephalomyelitis, Autoimmune, Experimental / physiopathology*
  • Female
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • In Situ Nick-End Labeling
  • Inflammation / physiopathology*
  • Metallothionein / biosynthesis*
  • Mice
  • Multiple Sclerosis / pathology
  • Multiple Sclerosis / physiopathology
  • Nerve Degeneration / pathology
  • Nerve Degeneration / physiopathology
  • Oxidative Stress / physiology
  • Time Factors


  • Biomarkers
  • Cytokines
  • Metallothionein