Treatment with arimoclomol, a coinducer of heat shock proteins, delays disease progression in ALS mice

Nat Med. 2004 Apr;10(4):402-5. doi: 10.1038/nm1021. Epub 2004 Mar 21.


Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a fatal neurodegenerative condition in which motoneurons of the spinal cord and motor cortex die, resulting in progressive paralysis. This condition has no cure and results in eventual death, usually within 1-5 years of diagnosis. Although the specific etiology of ALS is unknown, 20% of familial cases of the disease carry mutations in the gene encoding Cu/Zn superoxide dismutase-1 (SOD1). Transgenic mice overexpressing human mutant SOD1 have a phenotype and pathology that are very similar to that seen in human ALS patients. Here we show that treatment with arimoclomol, a coinducer of heat shock proteins (HSPs), significantly delays disease progression in mice expressing a SOD1 mutant in which glycine is substituted with alanine at position 93 (SOD1(G93A)). Arimoclomol-treated SOD1(G93A) mice show marked improvement in hind limb muscle function and motoneuron survival in the later stages of the disease, resulting in a 22% increase in lifespan. Pharmacological activation of the heat shock response may therefore be a successful therapeutic approach to treating ALS, and possibly other neurodegenerative diseases.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis / drug therapy*
  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis / enzymology
  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis / pathology
  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis / physiopathology
  • Animals
  • Disease Progression
  • Heat-Shock Proteins / biosynthesis*
  • Humans
  • Hydroxylamines / pharmacology
  • Hydroxylamines / therapeutic use*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Motor Neurons / pathology
  • Mutation
  • Superoxide Dismutase / genetics


  • Heat-Shock Proteins
  • Hydroxylamines
  • Superoxide Dismutase
  • arimoclomol