Frequent atrophic groups with mixed-type myofibers is distinctive to motor neuron syndromes
ABSTRACT This study was performed to determine whether there are distinctive features to the pattern of muscle denervation in motor neuron disease. We first compared muscle biopsies from patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) or Kennedy's disease with other causes of denervation. Groups of atrophic muscle fibers, with individual groups containing both fiber types I and II, occurred frequently in motor neuron disease but not other causes of denervation. We then identified 11 additional muscle biopsies with frequent atrophic groups containing mixed fiber types. Chart review revealed that 10 patients had a final diagnosis of motor neuron disease or ALS and one had multifocal motor neuropathy. We conclude that muscle biopsy may have diagnostic utility early in the course of motor neuron disease. The muscle biopsy pattern of frequent atrophic groups containing mixed fiber types should suggest a diagnosis of a motor neuron syndrome or motor neuropathy.
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ABSTRACT: Dogs homozygous for missense mutations in the SOD1 gene develop a late-onset neuromuscular disorder called degenerative myelopathy (DM) that has many similarities to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Both disorders are characterized by widespread progressive declines in motor functions, accompanied by atrophic changes in the descending spinal cord tracts. Some forms of ALS are also associated with SOD1 mutations. In end-stage ALS, death usually occurs as a result of respiratory failure from severe functional impairment of respiratory muscles. The mechanisms that lead to this loss of function are not known. Dogs with DM are euthanized at all stages of disease progression, providing an opportunity to characterize the onset and progression of any pathological changes in the respiratory muscles that may precede respiratory failure. To characterize such potential disease-related pathology, we evaluated intercostal muscles from Boxer and Pembroke Welsh Corgi dogs that were euthanized at various stages of DM disease progression. DM was found to result in intercostal muscle atrophy, fibrosis, increased variability in muscle fiber size and shape, and alteration in muscle fiber type composition. This pathology was not accompanied by retraction of the motor neuron terminals from the muscle acetylcholine receptor complexes, suggesting that the muscle atrophy did not result from physical denervation. These findings provide a better understanding of the mechanisms that likely lead to respiratory failure in at least some forms of ALS and will be useful in the development and evaluation of potential therapeutic interventions using the DM model. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.Journal of Neuroscience Research 12/2013; 91(12). DOI:10.1002/jnr.23287 · 2.73 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Mutations in the gene superoxide dismutase 1 (SOD1) are causative for familial forms of the neurodegenerative disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. When the first SOD1 mutations were identified they were postulated to give rise to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis through a loss of function mechanism, but experimental data soon showed that the disease arises from a-still unknown-toxic gain of function, and the possibility that loss of function plays a role in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis pathogenesis was abandoned. Although loss of function is not causative for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, here we re-examine two decades of evidence regarding whether loss of function may play a modifying role in SOD1-amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. From analysing published data from patients with SOD1-amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, we find a marked loss of SOD1 enzyme activity arising from almost all mutations. We continue to examine functional data from all Sod1 knockout mice and we find obvious detrimental effects within the nervous system with, interestingly, some specificity for the motor system. Here, we bring together historical and recent experimental findings to conclude that there is a possibility that SOD1 loss of function may play a modifying role in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. This likelihood has implications for some current therapies aimed at knocking down the level of mutant protein in patients with SOD1-amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Finally, the wide-ranging phenotypes that result from loss of function indicate that SOD1 gene sequences should be screened in diseases other than amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.Brain 05/2013; 136(8). DOI:10.1093/brain/awt097 · 10.23 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a progressive degenerative disease affecting upper and lower motor neurons. Symptom onset may occur in the muscles of the limbs (spinal onset) or those of the head and neck (bulbar onset). Bulbar involvement is particularly important in ALS as it is associated with increased morbidity and mortality. The purpose of this study was to characterize bulbar motor deficits in the B6SJL-Tg(SOD1-G93A)1Gur/J (SOD1-G93A) mouse model of familial ALS. We measured orolingual motor function by placing thirsty mice in a customized operant chamber that allows for measurement of tongue force and lick rhythm as animals lick water from an isometric disc. Testing spanned the pre-symptomatic, symptomatic, and end-stage segments of the disease. Rotarod performance, fore- and hindlimb grip strength, and locomotor activity were also monitored regularly during this period. We found that spinal involvement was apparent first, with both fore- and hindlimb grip strength being affected in SOD1-G93A mice from the onset of testing (64 days of age). Rotarod performance was affected by 71 days of age. Locomotor activity was not affected, even near end-stage. Bulbar involvement appeared much later, with tongue motility being affected by 100 days of age. Tongue force was affected by 115 days of age. To our knowledge, these findings are the first to describe the onset of bulbar versus spinal motor signs and characterize orolingual motor deficits in this preclinical model of ALS.Neuroscience 02/2008; 151(2):613-21. DOI:10.1016/j.neuroscience.2007.10.017 · 3.33 Impact Factor