The pathogenesis of cell death in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) may involve glutamate-mediated excitotoxicity, oxidative damage, and apoptosis. We used a transgenic mouse model of ALS to determine the effect of inhibition of cyclooxygenase-2 in treating the disease. Cyclooxygenase-2, present in spinal neurons and astrocytes, catalyzes the synthesis of prostaglandin E2. Prostaglandin E2 stimulates glutamate release from astrocytes, whereas cyclooxygenase-2 also plays a key role in the production of proinflammatory cytokines, reactive oxygen species, and free radicals. Treatment with a selective cyclooxygenase-2 inhibitor, celecoxib, markedly inhibited production of prostaglandin E2 in the spinal cords of ALS mice. Celecoxib treatment significantly delayed the onset of weakness and weight loss and prolonged survival by 25%. Spinal cords of treated ALS mice showed significant preservation of spinal neurons and diminished astrogliosis and microglial activation. Our results suggest that cyclooxygenase-2 inhibition may benefit ALS patients.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Neurology