Apoptosis is a hallmark of motoneuron diseases such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) . In a widely used mouse model of motoneuron disease (progressive motor neuronopathy or pmn) [2-4], transgenic expression of the anti-apoptotic bcl-2 gene  or treatment with glial cell-derived neurotrophic factor  prevents the apoptosis of the motoneuron soma; however, they were unable to affect the life span of the animals. The goal of the present work was to determine whether the pmn phenotype could be rescued by means of a gene that inhibits axon degeneration. For this reason, the pmn mice were crossed with mice bearing the dominant Wlds ("slow Wallerian degeneration") mutation, which slows axon degeneration and synapse loss [7-9]. We show here that the Wlds gene product attenuates symptoms, extends life span, prevents axon degeneration, rescues motoneuron number and size, and delays retrograde transport deficits in pmn/pmn mice. These results suggest new pathogenic mechanisms and therapeutic avenues for motoneuron diseases.