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Brain Res. 1997 Sep 5;767(2):345-55.

Induction of metallothionein in astrocytes and microglia in the spinal cord from the myelin-deficient jimpy mouse.

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Department of Cell Biology and Physiology, Faculty of Medicine, Autonomous University of Barcelona, Bellaterra, Spain.


Jimpy is a shortened life-span murine mutant whose genetic disorder results in severe pathological alterations in the CNS, including hypomyelination, oligodendrocyte death and strong astroglial and microglial reaction. The knowledge of metallothionein (MT) regulation in the CNS and especially of MT presence in specific glial cell types under pathological conditions is scarce. In the present study, immunocytochemical detection of MT-I + II has been performed in spinal cord sections from 10-12- and 20-22-day-old jimpy and normal animals. The identification of MT-positive glial cells was achieved through double labeling combining MT immunocytochemistry and selective markers for oligodendrocytes, astrocytes and microglia. MT was found in glial cells and was present in the spinal cord of jimpy and normal mice at both ages, but there were remarkable differences in MT expression and in the nature of MT-positive glial cells depending on the type of mouse. The number of MT-positive cells was higher in jimpy than in normal spinal cords. This was apparent in all spinal cord areas, although it was more pronounced in white than in the gray matter and at 20-22 days than at 10-12 days. The mean number of MT-positive glia in the jimpy white matter was 1.9-fold (10-12 days) and 2.4-fold (20-22 days) higher than in the normal one. Astrocytes were the only parenchymal glial cells that were positively identified as MT-producing cells in normal animals. Interestingly, MT in the jimpy spinal cord was localized not only in astrocytes but also in microglial cells. The occurrence of MT induction in relation to reactive astrocytes and microglia, and its role in neuropathological conditions is discussed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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