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Open accessJournal ArticleDOI: 10.3390/CELLS10030525

Skeletal Muscle in ALS: An Unappreciated Therapeutic Opportunity?

02 Mar 2021-Cells (MDPI AG)-Vol. 10, Iss: 3, pp 525
Abstract: Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a neurodegenerative disorder characterized by the selective degeneration of upper and lower motor neurons and by the progressive weakness and paralysis of voluntary muscles. Despite intense research efforts and numerous clinical trials, it is still an incurable disease. ALS had long been considered a pure motor neuron disease; however, recent studies have shown that motor neuron protection is not sufficient to prevent the course of the disease since the dismantlement of neuromuscular junctions occurs before motor neuron degeneration. Skeletal muscle alterations have been described in the early stages of the disease, and they seem to be mainly involved in the “dying back” phenomenon of motor neurons and metabolic dysfunctions. In recent years, skeletal muscles have been considered crucial not only for the etiology of ALS but also for its treatment. Here, we review clinical and preclinical studies that targeted skeletal muscles and discuss the different approaches, including pharmacological interventions, supplements or diets, genetic modifications, and training programs.

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5 results found


Open accessJournal ArticleDOI: 10.3390/IJMS22116016
Abstract: Intrinsic disorder is a natural feature of polypeptide chains, resulting in the lack of a defined three-dimensional structure. Conformational changes in intrinsically disordered regions of a protein lead to unstable β-sheet enriched intermediates, which are stabilized by intermolecular interactions with other β-sheet enriched molecules, producing stable proteinaceous aggregates. Upon misfolding, several pathways may be undertaken depending on the composition of the amino acidic string and the surrounding environment, leading to different structures. Accumulating evidence is suggesting that the conformational state of a protein may initiate signalling pathways involved both in pathology and physiology. In this review, we will summarize the heterogeneity of structures that are produced from intrinsically disordered protein domains and highlight the routes that lead to the formation of physiological liquid droplets as well as pathogenic aggregates. The most common proteins found in aggregates in neurodegenerative diseases and their structural variability will be addressed. We will further evaluate the clinical relevance and future applications of the study of the structural heterogeneity of protein aggregates, which may aid the understanding of the phenotypic diversity observed in neurodegenerative disorders.

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Topics: Protein aggregation (52%)

5 Citations


Open accessJournal ArticleDOI: 10.3390/IJMS22083977
Abstract: Over the years, researchers have leveraged a host of different in vivo models in order to dissect amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a neurodegenerative/neuroinflammatory disease that is heterogeneous in its clinical presentation and is multigenic, multifactorial and non-cell autonomous. These models include both vertebrates and invertebrates such as yeast, worms, flies, zebrafish, mice, rats, guinea pigs, dogs and, more recently, non-human primates. Despite their obvious differences and peculiarities, only the concurrent and comparative analysis of these various systems will allow the untangling of the causes and mechanisms of ALS for finally obtaining new efficacious therapeutics. However, harnessing these powerful organisms poses numerous challenges. In this context, we present here an updated and comprehensive review of how eukaryotic unicellular and multicellular organisms that reproduce a few of the main clinical features of the disease have helped in ALS research to dissect the pathological pathways of the disease insurgence and progression. We describe common features as well as discrepancies among these models, highlighting new insights and emerging roles for experimental organisms in ALS.

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4 Citations


Open accessJournal ArticleDOI: 10.3390/CELLS10092438
16 Sep 2021-Cells
Abstract: Multiple neurodegenerative diseases (NDDs) such as Alzheimer’s disease (AD), Parkinson’s disease (PD), amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and Huntington’s disease (HD) are being suggested to have common cellular and molecular pathological mechanisms, characterized mainly by protein misfolding and aggregation. These large inclusions, most likely, represent an end stage of a molecular cascade; however, the soluble misfolded proteins, which take part in earlier steps of this cascade, are the more toxic players. These pathological proteins, which characterize each specific disease, lead to the selective vulnerability of different neurons, likely resulting from a combination of different intracellular mechanisms, including mitochondrial dysfunction, ER stress, proteasome inhibition, excitotoxicity, oxidative damage, defects in nucleocytoplasmic transport, defective axonal transport and neuroinflammation. Damage within these neurons is enhanced by damage from the nonneuronal cells, via inflammatory processes that accelerate the progression of these diseases. In this review, while acknowledging the hallmark proteins which characterize the most common NDDs; we place specific focus on the common overlapping mechanisms leading to disease pathology despite these different molecular players and discuss how this convergence may occur, with the ultimate hope that therapies effective in one disease may successfully translate to another.

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Topics: Neurodegeneration (59%), Proteostasis (51%)

1 Citations


Open accessJournal ArticleDOI: 10.3390/IJMS22105234
Abstract: The Cellular Communication Network (CCN) family of matricellular proteins comprises six proteins that share conserved structural features and play numerous biological roles. These proteins can interact with several receptors or soluble proteins, regulating cell signaling pathways in various tissues under physiological and pathological conditions. In the skeletal muscle of mammals, most of the six CCN family members are expressed during embryonic development or in adulthood. Their roles during the adult stage are related to the regulation of muscle mass and regeneration, maintaining vascularization, and the modulation of skeletal muscle fibrosis. This work reviews the CCNs proteins' role in skeletal muscle physiology and disease, focusing on skeletal muscle fibrosis and its regulation by Connective Tissue Growth factor (CCN2/CTGF). Furthermore, we review evidence on the modulation of fibrosis and CCN2/CTGF by the renin-angiotensin system and the kallikrein-kinin system of vasoactive peptides.

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Topics: CTGF (65%), CCN Intercellular Signaling Proteins (64%), Skeletal muscle fibrosis (64%) ... read more

1 Citations


Open accessJournal ArticleDOI: 10.3390/BIOMEDICINES9080969
T G Sahana1, Ke Zhang1Institutions (1)
06 Aug 2021-Biomedicines
Abstract: Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis is a fatal motor neuron degenerative disease. Multiple genetic and non-genetic risk factors are associated with disease pathogenesis, and several cellular processes, including protein homeostasis, RNA metabolism, vesicle transport, etc., are severely impaired in ALS conditions. Despite the heterogeneity of the disease manifestation and progression, ALS patients show protein aggregates in the motor cortex and spinal cord tissue, which is believed to be at least partially caused by aberrant phase separation and the formation of persistent stress granules. Consistent with this notion, many studies have implicated cellular stress, such as ER stress, DNA damage, oxidative stress, and growth factor depletion, in ALS conditions. The mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathway is a fundamental mitogen/stress-activated signal transduction pathway that regulates cell proliferation, differentiation, survival, and death. Here we summarize the fundamental role of MAPK in physiology and ALS pathogenesis. We also discuss pharmacological inhibitors targeting this pathway tested in pre-clinical models, suggesting their role as potential drug candidates.

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Topics: MAPK/ERK pathway (57%), Unfolded protein response (56%), Protein kinase A (55%) ... read more

1 Citations

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223 results found


Journal ArticleDOI: 10.1126/SCIENCE.8209258
Mark E. Gurney1, Haifeng Pu1, Arlene Y. Chiu2, Mauro C. Dal Canto1  +10 moreInstitutions (2)
17 Jun 1994-Science
Abstract: Mutations of human Cu,Zn superoxide dismutase (SOD) are found in about 20 percent of patients with familial amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Expression of high levels of human SOD containing a substitution of glycine to alanine at position 93--a change that has little effect on enzyme activity--caused motor neuron disease in transgenic mice. The mice became paralyzed in one or more limbs as a result of motor neuron loss from the spinal cord and died by 5 to 6 months of age. The results show that dominant, gain-of-function mutations in SOD contribute to the pathogenesis of familial ALS.

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Topics: SOD1 (60%), Superoxide dismutase (55%), Motor neuron (55%) ... read more

3,753 Citations


Journal ArticleDOI: 10.1126/SCIENCE.8493557
21 May 1993-Science
Abstract: A potent neurotrophic factor that enhances survival of midbrain dopaminergic neurons was purified and cloned. Glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) is a glycosylated, disulfide-bonded homodimer that is a distantly related member of the transforming growth factor-beta superfamily. In embryonic midbrain cultures, recombinant human GDNF promoted the survival and morphological differentiation of dopaminergic neurons and increased their high-affinity dopamine uptake. These effects were relatively specific; GDNF did not increase total neuron or astrocyte numbers nor did it increase transmitter uptake by gamma-aminobutyric-containing and serotonergic neurons. GDNF may have utility in the treatment of Parkinson's disease, which is marked by progressive degeneration of midbrain dopaminergic neurons.

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3,168 Citations


Open accessJournal ArticleDOI: 10.1016/J.CMET.2005.05.004
01 Jun 2005-Cell Metabolism
Abstract: Many complex biological programs are controlled at the level of gene transcription by DNA binding transcription factors. Recent studies have revealed a novel mode of regulation by coactivator proteins, best illustrated by the PGC-1 family of coactivators. These factors are highly responsive to a variety of environmental cues, from temperature to nutritional status to physical activity, and they coordinately regulate metabolic pathways and biological processes in a tissue-specific manner. Notably, the PGC-1 coactivators play a critical role in the maintenance of glucose, lipid, and energy homeostasis and are likely involved in the pathogenic conditions such as obesity, diabetes, neurodegeneration, and cardiomyopathy. These actions also raise new opportunities for the development of novel therapeutics.

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Topics: Transcription factor (55%), Coactivator (54%), Energy homeostasis (50%)

1,830 Citations


Journal ArticleDOI: 10.1126/SCIENCE.7973664
11 Nov 1994-Science
Abstract: For survival, embryonic motoneurons in vertebrates depend on as yet undefined neurotrophic factors present in the limb bud. Members of the neurotrophin family are currently the best candidates for such neurotrophic factors, but inactivation of their receptor genes leads to only partial loss of motoneurons, which suggests that other factors are involved. Glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF), originally identified as a trophic factor specific for dopaminergic neurons, was found to be 75-fold more potent than the neurotrophins in supporting the survival of purified embryonic rat motoneurons in culture. GDNF messenger RNA was found in the immediate vicinity of motoneurons during the period of cell death in development. In vivo, GDNF rescues and prevents the atrophy of facial motoneurons that have been deprived of target-derived survival factors by axotomy. GDNF may therefore be a physiological trophic factor for spinal motoneurons. Its potency and specificity in vitro and in vivo also make it a good candidate for treatment of motoneuron disease.

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1,298 Citations


Journal ArticleDOI: 10.1016/J.EXPNEUROL.2003.10.004
Abstract: The SOD1 mutant mouse is the most widely used model of human amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). To determine where and when the pathological changes of motor neuron disease begins, we performed a comprehensive spatiotemporal analysis of disease progression in SOD1(G93A) mice. Quantitative pathological analysis was performed in the same mice at multiple ages at neuromuscular junctions (NMJ), ventral roots, and spinal cord. In addition, a patient with sporadic ALS who died unexpectedly was examined at autopsy. Mice became clinically weak at 80 days and died at 131 +/- 5 days. At 47 days, 40% of end-plates were denervated whereas there was no evidence of ventral root or cell body loss. At 80 days, 60% of ventral root axons were lost but there was no loss of motor neurons. Motor neuron loss was well underway by 100 days. Microglial and astrocytic activation around motor neurons was not identified until after the onset of distal axon degeneration. Autopsy of the ALS patient demonstrated denervation and reinnervation changes in muscle but normal appearing motor neurons. We conclude that in this widely studied animal model of human ALS, and in this single human case, motor neuron pathology begins at the distal axon and proceeds in a "dying back" pattern.

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Topics: Motor neuron (62%), Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (56%), Denervation (55%) ... read more

1,126 Citations


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20215