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J Neurol Sci. 2017 Jul 15;378:193-203. doi: 10.1016/j.jns.2017.05.009. Epub 2017 May 5.

Cervical spinal cord and motor unit pathology in a canine model of SOD1-associated amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

Author information

1
Mason Eye Institute, University of Missouri School of Medicine, Columbia, MO, United States. Electronic address: katzm@health.missouri.edu.
2
Mason Eye Institute, University of Missouri School of Medicine, Columbia, MO, United States.
3
Department of Veterinary Pathobiology, University of Missouri College of Veterinary Medicine, Columbia, MO, United States.
4
Department of Veterinary Medicine and Surgery, University of Missouri College of Veterinary Medicine, Columbia, MO, United States.

Abstract

Development of effective treatments for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) would be facilitated by identification of early events in the pathological cascade of disease progression. Degenerative myelopathy (DM), a naturally occurring disease in dogs, is quite similar to forms of ALS associated with SOD1 mutations and is likely to be a good model for these forms of the human disease. The sequence of histopathological changes that occur in DM was characterized by analyzing tissue samples obtained from affected dogs euthanized at various stages of disease progression. Cervical spinal cord and the associated spinal nerve roots, ulnar nerve, and the extensor carpi radialis (ECR) muscle were obtained from Pembroke Welsh Corgi dogs (PWCs) with early and late stage DM and from age-matched unaffected PWCs. In early stage disease there was a substantial change in the ratio of the two main muscle fiber types and an increase in mean muscle fiber area in the ECR. DM, even in late stage disease, was not accompanied by changes in the number of motor neuron cell bodies, in the number of axons in the motor or sensory nerve roots, or in the ulnar nerve. In addition, no disease-related denervation of the acetylcholine receptors of the ECR was observed at any stage of the disease. On the other hand, axon densities in both motor and sensory nerve tracts in the cervical cord were reduced in affected dogs. SOD1-immunoreactive aggregates were observed in spinal cord motor neuron cell bodies only in late stage disease. These findings suggest that some of the earliest pathological changes in DM occur in the muscle fibers and upper motor and sensory neuron tracts in the spinal cord. Targeting therapeutic interventions to these early events in the disease are most likely to be effective in slowing disease progression for DM and may translate to therapy of SOD1-related forms of ALS.

KEYWORDS:

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis; Degenerative myelopathy; Dog model; Muscle; Neurodegeneration; Pathology; Spinal cord

PMID:
28566164
DOI:
10.1016/j.jns.2017.05.009
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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