Metallothionein Protein DisorderWe poison ourselves with the wrong food, then try to mitigate the painful consequences of our folly by poisoning ourselves still further with drugs.'' - Aldous Huxley
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Metallothionein Protein Disorder

by Lauren O'Brien

Metallothionein protein disorder, or MT is thought to have it's root cause in an underlying genetic defect involving more than one gene. The genes have not been located in humans as of this publication. This disorder results in a decreased ability of the MT protein to function normally.

Metallothionein Protein Disorder

Metallothionein protein plays an important role in regulation of zinc and copper levels in the blood, detoxification of heavy metals as they enter the body, development and continued functioning of the immune system, development and pruning of brain cells, (neurons), prevention of yeast overgrowth in the intestines, production of enzymes that break down casein and gluten, production of hydrochloric acid by stomach cells, taste and texture discrimination by the tongue, behavior control and development of memory and social skills. In February of 2000, William Walsh, Ph.D. of the Pfeiffer Treatment Center, discovered that most autistic clients exhibit MT dysfunction and that the classic signs of autism can be explained by a MT dysfunction. He proposed that autism results from an intersection of two factors. One, a genetic defect involving marginal or defective MT functioning followed by two, an environmental insult during early development. Currently the Pfeiffer Treatment Center uses a biological approach to promote MT protein function. Dr. Walsh feels that possible consequences of achieving improved MT function may result in an improved ability to develop new brain cells and connections, eliminate the need for special diets, improve behavior and learning, reduce yeast overgrowth and inflammation in the gut and an improvement in immune function.

There are four primary types of MT proteins, each with an important role in the body.

  • MT-I and II are present in all cells throughout the body. They regulate copper and zinc, are involved in cell transcription, detoxify heavy metals, play a role in immune function, and are involved in a variety of G.I. tract functions.

  • MT-III is found primarily in the brain and functions as a growth inhibitory factor in the brain. MT-III is located primarily in the central nervous system with small amounts present in the pancreas and intestines. It plays a major role in the development, organization and programmed death of brain cells.

  • MT-IV is found in the skin and upper G.I. tract. They help regulate stomach acid pH, taste and texture discrimination of the tongue and help protect against sunburn and other skin traumas.

The Brain and Metallothionein:

In early infancy the brain has a high population of small, tightly packed brain cells. MT-III plays an important role in pruning these neurons, so that the remaining neurons can grown and develop new connections between each other. Early MT-III dysfunction may result in too many tightly packed brain cells, lacking proper connections to one another. This pruning defect may also be occurring in Alzheimer's disease. Clients are exposed to mercury via amalgam fillings and flu-shots. When aluminum (Cookware commonly used before 1970) is present, a deadly and dangerous combination is created and may alter the MT-III protein which turns on and begins to prune the healthy brain cells.

Metallothionein, zinc and copper are found at high levels in the hippocampus region of the brain. The hippocampus plays key roles in learning, memory and behavior control. High levels of MT proteins are also found in the amygdala (emotional memory and socialization), pineal gland (melatonin and the regulation of sleep), and the Purkinje cells. (receiving and sorting incoming information from the brain/body). Metallothionein also plays a key role in sequestering heavy metals and mediating immune response during crisis. In the event of a severe environmental insult, incomplete maturation of areas of the brain undergoing organization and development at the time of the insult may result in incomplete development. Individual combinations of autism may depend on the timing and the severity of the environmental insult, and at what stage of development the insult was received.


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