Metallothionein as an anti-inflammatory mediator

Mediators Inflamm. 2009;2009:101659. doi: 10.1155/2009/101659. Epub 2009 May 11.

Abstract

The integration of knowledge concerning the regulation of MT, a highly conserved, low molecular weight, cystein-rich metalloprotein, on its proposed functions is necessary to clarify how MT affects cellular processes. MT expression is induced/enhanced in various tissues by a number of physiological mediators. The cellular accumulation of MT depends on the availability of cellular zinc derived from the diet. MT modulates the binding and exchange/transport of heavy metals such as zinc, cadmium, or copper under physiological conditions and cytoprotection from their toxicities, and the release of gaseous mediators such as hydroxyl radicals or nitric oxide. In addition, MT reportedly affects a number of cellular processes, such as gene expression, apoptosis, proliferation, and differentiation. Given the genetic approach, the apparently healthy status of MT-deficient mice argues against an essential biological role for MT; however, this molecule may be critical in cells/tissues/organs in times of stress, since MT expression is also evoked/enhanced by various stresses. In particular, because metallothionein (MT) is induced by inflammatory stress, its roles in inflammation are implied. Also, MT expression in various organs/tissues can be enhanced by inflammatory stimuli, implicating in inflammatory diseases. In this paper, we review the role of MT of various inflammatory conditions.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / chemically induced
  • Inflammation / metabolism*
  • Metallothionein / metabolism
  • Metallothionein / physiology*
  • Models, Biological

Substances

  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Metallothionein