Down regulation of trophic factors in neonatal rat spinal cord after administration of cerebrospinal fluid from sporadic amyotrophic lateral sclerosis patients

J Neural Transm (Vienna). 2011 Apr;118(4):531-8. doi: 10.1007/s00702-010-0520-6. Epub 2010 Nov 11.


Accumulating evidence supports neuroprotective role of trophic factors in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Previous studies from our laboratory report that the CSF of patients with sporadic ALS (ALS-CSF) induces degenerative changes in the rat spinal motor neurons and reactive astrogliosis in the surrounding gray matter. The present study was aimed to investigate if the ALS-CSF affected the expression of trophic factors namely, brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), fibroblast growth factor 2 (FGF2) and insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF1) in the newborn rat spinal cords. ALS-CSF was intrathecally injected into the neonatal rats and the mRNA levels of the trophic factors were determined by quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction. Here, we report significant down regulation in the gene expression of trophic factors for BDNF, FGF2 and IGF1. BDNF mRNA levels were found to be reduced by 6.8-fold in the ALS-CSF injected group compared to control groups. The levels of IGF1 and FGF2 mRNA were also decreased by 3.91- and 2.13-fold, respectively, in the ALS group. We further found that exogenous supplementation of BDNF considerably reduced the aberrant phosphorylation of neurofilaments, complementing our earlier findings of restored expression of voltage gated sodium channel. Reduced expression of trophic factors indicates an altered microenvironment of the motor neurons and could possibly be one of the contributing factors in the degeneration process.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis / cerebrospinal fluid*
  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis / metabolism*
  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis / pathology
  • Animals
  • Animals, Newborn
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Cerebrospinal Fluid Proteins / isolation & purification
  • Cerebrospinal Fluid Proteins / toxicity*
  • Down-Regulation / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Nerve Growth Factors / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Nerve Growth Factors / biosynthesis
  • Rats
  • Spinal Cord / metabolism*
  • Spinal Cord / pathology


  • Cerebrospinal Fluid Proteins
  • Nerve Growth Factors