Loss of Fas ligand-function improves survival in G93A-transgenic ALS mice
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis
Fas Ligand Protein
ALS is a devastating neurodegenerative disorder for which no effective treatment exists. The precise molecular mechanisms underlying the selective degeneration of motor neurons are still unknown. A motor neuron specific apoptotic pathway involving Fas and NO has been discovered. Motor neurons from ALS-mice have an increased sensitivity to Fas-induced cell death via this pathway. In this study we therefore crossed G93A-SOD1 overexpressing ALS mice with Fas ligand (FasL) mutant (gld) mice to investigate whether the reduced Fas signaling could have beneficial effects on motor neuron death. G93A-SOD1 mutant mice with a homozygous FasL mutant showed a modest but statistically significant extension of survival, and reduced loss of motor neurons. These results indicate that motor neuron apoptosis triggered by Fas is relevant in ALS pathogenesis.