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Trends Mol Med. 2004 Aug;10(8):393-400.

Lessons from models of SOD1-linked familial ALS.

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Laboratory of Molecular Neurobiology, Department of Neuroscience, Istituto di Ricerche Farmacologiche Mario Negri, Via Eritrea 62, 20157 Milan, Italy.


Ten years ago, the linkage between mutations in the gene coding for the antioxidant enzyme Cu,Zn superoxide dismutase (SOD1) and the neurodegenerative disease known as familial amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (FALS) was established. This finding has prompted a myriad of new studies in experimental models aimed at investigating the toxic function of the mutant enzymes. The cellular functions that are impaired in motoneurons as a consequence of molecular alterations induced by the expression of FALS SOD1 converge on pathways that might be activated in sporadic ALS by other toxic factors. Recent data demonstrate that, although motoneurons are lost in patients, other cell types are also affected and actively contribute to the pathogenesis of the disease.

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