Chapter 10

Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis: A Role for Non-Neuronal Cells

Ana G. Barbeito

Abstract

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a fatal neurodegenerative disorder characterized by the progressive degeneration of both upper and lower motor neurons leading to paralysis and finally to death. Non-neuronal cells, including glial cells, have been shown to actively participate in the physiopathological process occurring in ALS. Experiments using chimeric mice expressing ALS-linked mutations suggest that neighboring non-neuronal cells modulate disease phenotype. In this review, recent findings involving the role of astrocytes, microglia and of other non-neuronal cells will be discussed. The study of motor neuron microenvironment could lead to a better understanding of the physiopathology of ALS to find new pathways to slow down motor neuron degeneration.

Total Pages: 205-222 (18)

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