Altered excitability of motor neurons in a transgenic mouse model of familial amyotrophic lateral sclerosis

Neurosci Lett. 2003 Nov 20;351(3):153-6. doi: 10.1016/j.neulet.2003.07.010.


Various evidence suggests that amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) selectively affects motor neuron functioning, but electrophysiological alterations of single motor neurons in ALS remains to be documented. In the present work, the excitability of motor neurons has been tested in a transgenic mouse model of a familial form of ALS, associated with a mutation in Cu,Zn superoxide dismutase (Gly(93)-->Ala). Patch-clamp recordings of membrane potential in transgenic mice motor neurons showed that they fire with increased frequency and shorter duration compared to motor neurons from control mice. The passive membrane properties of these neurons were equivalent however. Such results suggest that an altered motor neuron excitability accompanies an ALS associated mutation and that may contribute to the pathogenesis of the disease.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials / physiology
  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis / genetics*
  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Disease Models, Animal*
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Motor Neurons / metabolism*
  • Mutation
  • Superoxide Dismutase / biosynthesis*
  • Superoxide Dismutase / genetics
  • Superoxide Dismutase-1


  • SOD1 protein, human
  • Sod1 protein, mouse
  • Superoxide Dismutase
  • Superoxide Dismutase-1

Grant support