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Metallothionein expression by NG2 glial cells following CNS injury

Chung, R. S., Fung, S. J., Leung, Y. K., Walker, A. K., McCormack, G. H., Chuah, M. I., Vickers, J. C., West, A. K.
Cellular and molecular life sciences 2007 v.64 no.19-20 pp. 2716-2722
adults, metallothionein, neocortex, neuroglia, neurons, rats, zinc
Metallothionein (MT) expression is rapidly up-regulated following CNS injury, and there is a strong correlation between the presence or absence of MTand improved or impaired (respectively) recovery from such trauma.We now report that a distinct subset of NG2-positive, GFAP-negative glial cells bordering the injury tract express MT following focal injury to the adult rat neocortex. To confirm the ability of these NG2 glial cells to express MT, we have isolated and cultured them and identified that they can express MT following stimulation with zinc. To investigate the functional importance of MT expression by NG2 glial cells, we plated cortical neurons onto these cells and found that expression of MT enhanced the permissivity of NG2 glial cells to neurite outgrowth. Our data suggest that expression of MT by NG2 glial cells may contribute to the overall permissiveness of these cells to axon regeneration.