Calcium-containing endosomes at oculomotor terminals in animal models of ALS
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis
Altered calcium homeostasis has been demonstrated in human spinal cord motor axon terminals of ALS patients, in spinal motor neurons of mutant SOD transgenic mice and following injection of ALS immunoglobulins. In all three paradigms oculomotor neurons are relatively spared. To explore mechanisms of selective resistance, we applied similar calcium localization techniques to terminals of oculomotor neurons in the two animal models. In both cases large vacuoles, which connect with the extracellular space, accumulated the majority of intracellular calcium, while terminals of vulnerable neurons (e.g. innervating interosseus muscle), which possess no such vacuoles, displayed evenly distributed calcium. These relatively unique membrane enveloped structures may permit neurons to control their cytoplasmic Ca2+ concentration and contribute to selective resistance.