23 August 2016
Vascular endothelial cells cover the luminal surface of blood vessels and contribute to the prevention of vascular disorders such as atherosclerosis. Metallothionein (MT) is a low molecular weight, cysteine-rich, metal-binding, inducible protein, which protects cells from the toxicity of heavy metals and active oxygen species. Endothelial MT is not induced by inorganic zinc. Adequate tools are required to investigate the mechanisms underlying endothelial MT induction. In the present study, we found that an organoantimony compound, tris(pentafluorophenyl)stibane, induces gene expression of MT-1A and MT-2A, which are subisoforms of MT in bovine aortic endothelial cells. The data reveal that MT-1A is induced by activation of both the MTF-1–MRE and Nrf2–ARE pathways, whereas MT-2A expression requires only activation of the MTF-1–MRE pathway. The present data suggest that the original role of MT-1 is to protect cells from heavy metal toxicity and oxidative stress in the biological defense system, while that of MT-2 is to regulate intracellular zinc metabolism.