Title

Blood-spinal cord barrier disruption contributes to early motor-neuron degeneration in ALS-model mice

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

3-18-2014

Publication Title

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

E-ISSN

1091-6490

Abstract

Humans with ALS and transgenic rodents expressing ALS-associated superoxide dismutase (SOD1) mutations develop spontaneous blood-spinal cord barrier (BSCB) breakdown, causing microvascular spinal-cord lesions. The role of BSCB breakdown in ALS disease pathogenesis in humans and mice remains, however, unclear, although chronic blood-brain barrier opening has been shown to facilitate accumulation of toxic blood-derived products in the central nervous system, resulting in secondary neurodegenerative changes. By repairing the BSCB and/or removing the BSCB-derived injurious stimuli, we now identify that accumulation of blood-derived neurotoxic hemoglobin and iron in the spinal cord leads to early motor-neuron degeneration in SOD1(G93A) mice at least in part through iron-dependent oxidant stress. Using spontaneous or warfarin-accelerated microvascular lesions, motor-neuron dysfunction and injury were found to be proportional to the degree of BSCB disruption at early disease stages in SOD1(G93A) mice. Early treatment with an activated protein C analog restored BSCB integrity that developed from spontaneous or warfarin-accelerated microvascular lesions in SOD1(G93A) mice and eliminated neurotoxic hemoglobin and iron deposits. Restoration of BSCB integrity delayed onset of motor-neuron impairment and degeneration. Early chelation of blood-derived iron and antioxidant treatment mitigated early motor-neuronal injury. Our data suggest that BSCB breakdown contributes to early motor-neuron degeneration in ALS mice and that restoring BSCB integrity during an early disease phase retards the disease process.

Volume

111

Issue

11

First Page

E1035

Last Page

42

DOI

10.1073/pnas.1401595111

PubMed ID

24591593

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