Preserving nerve cells in motor neuron disease

Sep 20, 2010

A team of researchers, led by Scott Oakes, at the University of California, San Francisco, has identified a way to prevent symptom onset, weight loss, and paralysis and extend survival in a mouse model of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS; also known as Lou Gehrig's disease), providing a new avenue of research for the development of therapeutics for ALS and other motor neuron diseases.

ALS and other motor neuron diseases are neurological disorders that selectively affect that control voluntary muscle activities such as speaking, walking, breathing, swallowing, and general movement of the body. A key feature of these diseases is that the affected nerve cells (which are known as motor neurons) die by a process known as apoptosis.

Determining whether this death contributes to disease or occurs after the nerves have stopped functioning is important to establishing whether blocking apoptosis would have therapeutic benefit. In the study, genetically eliminating activation of the mitochondrial apoptotic pathway in a of ALS was shown to preserve motor neuron viability and function, thereby preventing symptom onset, weight loss, and and extending survival.

The authors therefore suggest that inhibiting activation of the mitochondrial apoptotic pathway might provide a way to preserve motor neurons in individuals with ALS and other motor neuron diseases.

Explore further: 'Tickling' your ear could be good for your heart

More information: View this article at: www.jci.org/articles/view/4298… b51352dad375af860586

Provided by Journal of Clinical Investigation

5 /5 (2 votes)
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Genetics of ALS progression

Jun 01, 2008

An upcoming paper in the June 1 issue of G&D, from Drs. Hidenori Ichijo and Hideki Nishitoh (University of Tokyo) and colleagues, lends new and valuable insight into the genetics of ALS.

Researchers discover genetic link between both types of ALS

May 05, 2010

Researchers from Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine have discovered a link between sporadic and familial forms of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a neurodegenerative disease also known as Lou Gehrig's ...

Research suggests new direction for ALS treatment

Nov 28, 2007

A research team from Wake Forest University School of Medicine is the first to show that injections of a protein normally found in human cells can increase lifespan and delay the onset of symptoms in mice with ALS (amyotrophic ...

Recommended for you

Celebrities in 'Ice Bucket Challenge' to fight disease

9 hours ago

Steven Spielberg, Justin Bieber and Bill Gates are among many celebrities pouring buckets of ice water over their heads and donating to fight Lou Gehrig's disease, in a fundraising effort that has gone viral.

Study helps explain why elderly have trouble sleeping

11 hours ago

As people grow older, they often have difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep, and tend to awaken too early in the morning. In individuals with Alzheimer's disease, this common and troubling symptom ...

Targeted brain training may help you multitask better

12 hours ago

The area of the brain involved in multitasking and ways to train it have been identified by a research team at the IUGM Institut universitaire de gériatrie de Montréal and the University of Montreal.

User comments : 0