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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. Apr 12, 1994; 91(8): 3393–3397.

Cytotoxicity of immunoglobulins from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis patients on a hybrid motoneuron cell line.


Patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis possess antibodies (ALS IgGs) that bind to L-type skeletal muscle voltage-gated calcium channels (VGCCs) and inhibit L-type calcium current. To determine whether interaction of ALS IgGs with neuronal VGCCs might influence motoneuron survival, we used a motoneuron-neuroblastoma hybrid (VSC 4.1) cell line expressing binding sites for inhibitors of L-, N-, and P-type VGCCs. Using direct viable cell counts, quantitation of propidium iodide- and fluorescein diacetate-labeled cells, and lactate dehydrogenase release to assess cell survival, we document that ALS IgG kills 40-70% of cAMP-differentiated VSC 4.1 cells within 2 days. ALS IgG-mediated cytotoxicity is dependent on extracellular calcium and is prevented by peptide antagonists of N- or P-type VGCCs but not by dihydropyridine modulators of L-type VGCCs. Preincubating IgG with purified intact L-type VGCC or with isolated VGCC alpha 1 subunit also blocks ALS IgG-mediated cytotoxicity. These results suggest that ALS IgG may directly lead to motoneuron cell death by a mechanism requiring extracellular calcium and mediated by neuronal-type calcium channels.

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