Metallothionein (MT)-I+II synthesis is induced in the central nervous system (CNS) in response to practically any pathogen or disorder, where it is increased mainly in reactive glia. MT-I+II are involved in host defence reactions and neuroprotection during neuropathological conditions, in which MT-I+II decrease inflammation and secondary tissue damage (oxidative stress, neurodegeneration, and apoptosis) and promote post-injury repair and regeneration (angiogenesis, neurogenesis, neuronal sprouting and tissue remodelling). Intracellularly the molecular MT-I+II actions involve metal ion control and scavenging of reactive oxygen species (ROS) leading to cellular redox control. By regulating metal ions, MT-I+II can control metal-containing transcription factors, zinc-finger proteins and p53. However, the neuroprotective functions of MT-I+II also involve an extracellular component. MT-I+II protects the neurons by signal transduction through the low-density lipoprotein family of receptors on the cell surface involving lipoprotein receptor-1 (LRP1) and megalin (LRP2). In this review we discuss the newest data on cerebral MT-I+II functions following brain injury and experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis.