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J Exp Med. 2011 Nov 21;208(12):2429-47. doi: 10.1084/jem.20111313. Epub 2011 Nov 14.

Deregulation of TDP-43 in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis triggers nuclear factor κB-mediated pathogenic pathways.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry and Neuroscience, Research Centre of the University Hospital Centre of Quebec, Canada.


TDP-43 (TAR DNA-binding protein 43) inclusions are a hallmark of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). In this study, we report that TDP-43 and nuclear factor κB (NF-κB) p65 messenger RNA and protein expression is higher in spinal cords in ALS patients than healthy individuals. TDP-43 interacts with and colocalizes with p65 in glial and neuronal cells from ALS patients and mice expressing wild-type and mutant TDP-43 transgenes but not in cells from healthy individuals or nontransgenic mice. TDP-43 acted as a co-activator of p65, and glial cells expressing higher amounts of TDP-43 produced more proinflammatory cytokines and neurotoxic mediators after stimulation with lipopolysaccharide or reactive oxygen species. TDP-43 overexpression in neurons also increased their vulnerability to toxic mediators. Treatment of TDP-43 mice with Withaferin A, an inhibitor of NF-κB activity, reduced denervation in the neuromuscular junction and ALS disease symptoms. We propose that TDP-43 deregulation contributes to ALS pathogenesis in part by enhancing NF-κB activation and that NF-κB may constitute a therapeutic target for the disease.

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