Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a devastating neurologic disease characterized by progressive motor dysfunction that leads to paralysis and eventually death. There are numerous hypotheses for the pathogenesis of this disease, but the mechanisms of degeneration were difficult to investigate before the development of animal models. Transgenic mice with alterations in either the superoxide dismutase (SOD-1) or neurofilament genes display motor neuron pathology and deficits in motor function and, therefore, provide animal models for the study of ALS neurodegeneration. Using these animal models, as well as several in vitro models, researchers have made rapid progress during the last several years toward understanding the cause and mechanism of ALS neurodegeneration. These studies have demonstrated that motor neuron degeneration in ALS may be secondary to a number of causes, including neurofilament disruption, mutations in SOD-1, and glutamate excitotoxicity. Although each of these mechanisms can cause motor neuron degeneration by itself, studies of transgenic mice have indicated several points at which these mechanisms may interact, suggesting that they are components of one general mechanism of neurodegeneration.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||16|
|Journal||Journal of Experimental Zoology|
|State||Published - Sep 1998|
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Animal Science and Zoology