ABSTRACT: After spinal cord injury (SCI), a complex cascade of pathophysiological processes rapidly damages the nervous tissue. The initial damage spreads to the surrounding tissue by different mechanisms, including oxidative stress. We have recently reported that the induction of metallothionein (MT) protein is an endogenous rapid-response mechanism after SCI. Since the participation of MT in neuroprotective processes after SCI is still unknown, the aim of the present study was to evaluate the possible neuroprotective effect of exogenously administered MT-II during the acute phase after SCI in rats. Female Wistar rats weighing 200-250g were submitted to spinal cord contusion by means of a computer-controlled device (NYU impactor). Rats received several doses of MT-II (3.2, 10 and 100μg) at 2 and 8h after SCI. Results of the BBB scale were statistically analysed using an ANOVA of repeated-measures, followed by Tukey's test. Among the three doses tested, only 10 and 100μg were able to significantly increase (p<0.05) BBB scale scores eight weeks after SCI from a mean of 7.88 in the control group, to means of 12.63 and 10.88 for the 10 and 100μg doses of MT-II, respectively. The amount of spared tissue was also higher in the groups treated with 10 and 100μg, as compared to the control group values. Results from the present study demonstrate a significant neuroprotective effect of exogenously administered MT-II. Further studies are needed in order to characterize the mechanisms involved in this neuroprotective action.
Neuroscience Letters 03/2012; 514(1):102-5. · 2.11 Impact Factor