Localization, regulation, and function of metallothionein-III/growth inhibitory factor in the brain

Chiharu Sogawa, Masato Asanuma, Norio Sogawa, Ikuko Miyazaki, Tohru Nakanishi, Hiroaki Furuta, Norio Ogawa

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

40 Citations (Scopus)


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 varjous 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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalActa medica Okayama
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2001


  • Gene expression
  • Localization
  • Metal transport
  • Neurodegenerative disease
  • Neuroprotectin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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