Stem Cell Treatment for ALS is Available at ASCI
ALS - AMYOTROPHIC LATERAL SCLEROSIS
ALS Stem Cell Treatment Case Review
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), also referred to as Lou Gehrig's disease, is a form of motor neuron disease caused by the degeneration of upper and lower neurons, located in the ventral horn of the spinal cord and the cortical neurons that provide their efferent input.
The condition is often called Lou Gehrig's disease in North America, after the New York Yankees baseball player who was diagnosed with the disease in 1939. The disorder is characterized by rapidly progressive weakness, muscle atrophy and fasciculations, spasticity, dysarthria, dysphagia, and respiratory compromise. Sensory function generally is spared, as is autonomic, and oculomotor activity. ALS is a progressive, fatal, neurodegenerative disease
Signs and symptoms
The disorder causes muscle weakness and atrophy throughout the body caused by degeneration of the upper and lower motor neurons. Unable to function, the muscles weaken and atrophy. Affected individuals may ultimately lose the ability to initiate and control all voluntary movement, although bladder and bowel sphincters and the muscles responsible for eye movement are usually, but not always, spared.
Cognitive function is generally spared for most patients although some (~5%) also have frontotemporal dementia. A higher proportion of patients (~30-50%) also have more subtle cognitive changes which may go unnoticed but are revealed by detailed neuropsychological testing. Sensory nerves and the autonomic nervous system, which controls functions like sweating, are generally unaffected but may be involved for some patients.
The earliest symptoms of ALS are typically obvious weakness and/or muscle atrophy. Other presenting symptoms include muscle fasciculation (twitching), cramping, or stiffness of affected muscles; muscle weakness affecting an arm or a leg; and/or slurred and nasal speech. The parts of the body affected by early symptoms of ALS depend on which motor neurons in the body are damaged first. About 75% of people contracting the disease experience "limb onset" ALS.
The cause of ALS is not known, though an important step toward determining the cause came in 1993 when scientists discovered that mutations in the gene that produces the Cu/Zn superoxide dismutase (SOD1) enzyme were associated with some cases (approximately 20%) of familial ALS. This enzyme is a powerful antioxidant that protects the body from damage caused by superoxide, a toxic free radical generated in the mitochondria. Free radicals are highly reactive molecules produced by cells during normal metabolism again largely by the mitochondria. Free radicals can accumulate and cause damage to both mitochondrial and nuclear DNA and proteins within cells.
Studies also have focused on the role of glutamate in motor neuron degeneration. Glutamate is one of the chemical messengers or neurotransmitters in the brain. Scientists have found that, compared to healthy people, ALS patients have higher levels of glutamate in the serum and spinal fluid. Riluzole is currently the only FDA approved drug for ALS and targets glutamate transporters. It only has a modest effect on survival, however, suggesting that excess glutamate is not the sole cause of the disease.
No test can provide a definite diagnosis of ALS, although the presence of upper and lower motor neuron signs in a single limb is strongly suggestive. Instead, the diagnosis of ALS is primarily based on the symptoms and signs the physician observes in the patient and a series of tests to rule out other diseases. Physicians obtain the patient's full medical history and usually conduct a neurologic examination at regular intervals to assess whether symptoms such as muscle weakness, atrophy of muscles, hyperreflexia, and spasticity are getting progressively worse.
Pathological TDP-43 changes in Betz cells differ from those in bulbar and spinal α-motoneurons in sporadic amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.
Related Articles Pathological TDP-43 changes in Betz cells differ from those in bulbar and spinal α-motoneurons in sporadic amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Acta Neuropathol. 2017 Jan;133(1):79-90 Authors: Braak H, Ludolph AC, Neumann M, Ravits J, Del Tredici K Abstract Two nerve cells types, Betz cells in layer Vb of the primary motor neocortex and α-motoneurons of the lower brainstem and spinal cord, become involved at the beginning of the pathological cascade underlying sporadic amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (sALS). In both neuronal types, the cell nuclei forfeit their normal (non-phosphorylated) expression of the 43-kDa transactive response DNA-binding protein (TDP-43). Here, we present initial evidence that in α-motoneurons the loss of normal nuclear TDP-43 expression is followed by the formation of phosphorylated TDP-43 aggregates (pTDP-43) within the cytoplasm, whereas in Betz cells, by contrast, the loss of normal nuclear TDP-43 expression remains mostly unaccompanied by the development of cytoplasmic aggregations. We discuss some implications of this phenomenon of nuclear clearing in the absence of cytoplasmic inclusions, namely, abnormal but soluble (and, thus, probably toxic) cytoplasmic TDP-43 could enter the axoplasm of Betz cells, and following its transmission to the corresponding α-motoneurons in the lower brainstem and spinal cord, possibly contribute in recipient neurons to the dysregulation of the normal nuclear protein. Because the cellular mechanisms that possibly inhibit the aggregation of TDP-43 in the cytoplasm of involved Betz cells are unknown, insight into such mechanisms could disclose a pathway by which the development of aggregates in this cell population could be accelerated, thereby opening an avenue for a causally based therapy. PMID: 27757524 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]Read more...