Altered Calcium Homeostasis and Ultrastructure in Motoneurons of Mice Caused by Passively Transferred Anti-motoneuronal IgG
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis
Disease Models, Animal
Motor Neuron Disease
Calcium homeostasis and ultrastructure are altered in motor axon terminals (AT) of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) patients and in mice injected with ALS IgG and exhibit increased density of synaptic vesicles and increased intracellular calcium. To develop an immune-mediated passive transfer experimental model of both systemic weakness and altered morphology, mice were inoculated intraperitoneally with anti-motoneuronal IgG. Animals initially manifested muscle stiffness and evidence of autonomic cholinergic hyperactivity. Electron microscopic cytochemistry within 12 hours (h) demonstrated significantly increased density of synaptic vesicles and calcium both in axon terminals of neuromuscular junctions and synaptic boutons on spinal motoneurons. After 24 h the mice were severely weak and premorbid. The number of synaptic vesicles was still larger than normal, but calcium was depleted from axon terminals and synaptic boutons. The motoneuron perikarya demonstrated the dilatation of the Golgi system and the rough endoplasmic reticulum with an increased amount of calcium. The NMDA receptor antagonist, MK-801, and the L-type calcium channel antagonist, Diltiazem, prevented clinical symptoms and some morphological alterations. These data demonstrate that high titer anti-motoneuronal IgG can induce severe weakness and produce similar ultrastructural features of motor axon terminals in human ALS and in mice injected with ALS IgG, and support a key role for calcium in selective vulnerability of motoneurons.