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Aoki, Sogawa Chiharu
The metallothionein (MT) family is a class of low molecular, intracellular, and cysteine-rich proteins with a high affinity for metals. Although the first of these proteins was discovered nearly 40 years ago, their functional significance remains obscure. Four major isoforms (MT-I, MT-II, MT-III, and MT-IV) have been identified in mammals. MT-I and MT-II are ubiquitously expressed in various organs including the brain, while expression of MT-III and MT-IV is restricted in specific organs. MT-III was detected predominantly in the brain, and characterized as a central nervous system-specific isomer. The role of MTs in the central nervous system has become an intense focus of scientific research. An isomer of MTs, MT-III, of particular interest, was originally discovered as a growth inhibitory factor, and has been found to be markedly reduced in the brain of patients with Alzheimer's disease and several other neurodegenerative diseases. MT-III fulfills unique biological roles in homeostasis of the central nervous system and in the etiology of neuropathological disorders.
Acta Medica Okayama
Okayama University Medical School
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