Skip Navigation
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Dot gov

The .gov means it’s official.
Federal government websites often end in .gov or .mil. Before sharing sensitive information, make sure you’re on a federal government site.


The site is secure.
The https:// ensures that you are connecting to the official website and that any information you provide is encrypted and transmitted securely.

Your Environment. Your Health.

Publication Detail

Title: The role of metallothionein in the pathogenesis of acute lung injury.

Authors: Wesselkamper, Scott C; McDowell, Susan A; Medvedovic, Mario; Dalton, Timothy P; Deshmukh, Hitesh S; Sartor, Maureen A; Case, Lisa M; Henning, Lisa N; Borchers, Michael T; Tomlinson, Craig R; Prows, Daniel R; Leikauf, George D

Published In Am J Respir Cell Mol Biol, (2006 Jan)

Abstract: Often fatal, acute lung injury has a complicated etiology. Previous studies from our laboratory in mice have demonstrated that survival during acute lung injury is a complex trait governed by multiple loci. We also found that the increase in metallothionein (MT) is one of the greatest noted in transcriptome-wide analyses of gene expression. To assess the role of MT in nickel-induced acute lung injury, the survival of Mt-transgenic, Mt1/2(+/+), and Mt1/2(-/-) mice was compared. Pulmonary inflammation and global gene expression were compared in Mt1/2(+/+) and Mt1/2(-/-) mice. Gene-targeted Mt1/2(-/-) mice were more susceptible than Mt1/2(+/+) mice to nickel-induced inflammation, surfactant-associated protein B transcript loss, and lethality. Similarly, Mt-transgenic mice exhibited increased survival. MAPPFinder analyses also noted significant decreases in genes involved in protein processing (e.g., ubiquitination, folding), which were greater in Mt1/2(-/-) mice as compared with Mt1/2(+/+) mice early in the progression of acute lung injury, possibly due to a zinc-mediated transcript destabilization. In contrast, transcript levels of genes associated with the inflammatory response, extracellular matrix regulation, and coagulation/fibrinolysis were increased more in Mt1/2(-/-) mice as compared with Mt1/2(+/+) mice late in the development of acute lung injury. Thus, MT ultimately improves survival in the progression of acute lung injury in mice. Transcriptome-wide analysis suggests that this survival may be mediated through changes in the destabilization of transcripts associated with protein processing, the subsequent augmentation of transcripts controlling inflammation, extracellular matrix regulation, coagulation/fibrinolysis, and disruption of surfactant homeostasis.

PubMed ID: 16166738 Exiting the NIEHS site

MeSH Terms: Animals; Disease Progression; Gene Expression Profiling; Gene Expression Regulation; Humans; Metallothionein/genetics; Metallothionein/metabolism*; Mice; Mice, Inbred Strains; Mice, Knockout; Nickel/toxicity; Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis; Respiratory Distress Syndrome, Adult/chemically induced; Respiratory Distress Syndrome, Adult/genetics*; Respiratory Distress Syndrome, Adult/metabolism; Respiratory Distress Syndrome, Adult/physiopathology*; Survival Rate

to Top