Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a progressive, fatal neurodegenerative disorder involving the motor neurons of cortex, brain stem, and spinal cord. About 10% of all ALS patients are familial cases (FALS), of which 20% have mutations in the Cu, Zn-superoxide dismutase (SOD1) gene. The murine model for FALS, which overexpresses a FALS variant of the SOD1 gene, exhibits progressive limbic paralysis followed by death. Treatment of FALS mice with WHI-P131, a specific inhibitor of Janus kinase 3 (JAK3), increased survival by more than two months, suggesting that specific inhibitors of JAK3 may be useful in the treatment of human ALS. These results uniquely establish JAK3 as a novel molecular target for the treatment of FALS.
Copyright 2000 Academic Press.