Deficits in axonal transport precede ALS symptoms in vivo


ALS is a fatal neurodegenerative disease characterized by selective motor neuron death resulting in muscle paralysis. Mutations in superoxide dismutase 1 (SOD1) are responsible for a subset of familial cases of ALS. Although evidence from transgenic mice expressing human mutant SOD1(G93A) suggests that axonal transport defects may contribute to ALS pathogenesis, our understanding of how these relate to disease progression remains unclear. Using an in vivo assay that allows the characterization of axonal transport in single axons in the intact sciatic nerve, we have identified clear axonal transport deficits in presymptomatic mutant mice. An impairment of axonal retrograde transport may therefore represent one of the earliest axonal pathologies in SOD1(G93A) mice, which worsens at an early symptomatic stage. A deficit in axonal transport may therefore be a key pathogenic event in ALS and an early disease indicator of motor neuron degeneration.

Journal details

Volume 107
Issue number 47
Pages 20523-20528
Publication date