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Brain Res. 2001 Mar 9;894(1):37-45.

Metallothionein III is reduced in Alzheimer's disease.

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Centre for Research in Neurodegenerative Diseases, University of Toronto, 6 Queen's Park Crescent West, Ontario M5S 3H2, Toronto, Canada.


Metallothionein III (MT-III) is a functionally distinct member of the metallothionein family that displays neuroinhibitory activity and is involved in the repair of neuronal damage. Altered expression levels of MT-III have been observed in Alzheimer's disease (AD) which has led to suggestions that it could be a mitigating factor in AD-related neuronal dysfunction. However, conflicting results have been reported on this issue which may be due to methodological differences and/or sampling size. In the current study, we have assessed MT-III expression in a large number of AD cases through the quantification of mRNA as well as by immunohistochemistry and Western blotting using an MT-III specific antibody. The results of this comprehensive study indicate that the mononucleosome DNA encoding MT-III is occluded preventing transcription and that message levels are reduced by approximately 30%. In addition, protein levels were specifically decreased by approximately 55% in temporal cortex. These data support the conclusion that MT-III is significantly downregulated in AD and may contribute to the loss of its protective effects and/or repair functions that lead to an exacerbation of the pathogenic processes.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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