Astroglial inhibition of NF-κB does not ameliorate disease onset and progression in a mouse model for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)

PLoS One. 2011 Mar 18;6(3):e17187. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0017187.


Motor neuron death in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is considered a "non-cell autonomous" process, with astrocytes playing a critical role in disease progression. Glial cells are activated early in transgenic mice expressing mutant SOD1, suggesting that neuroinflammation has a relevant role in the cascade of events that trigger the death of motor neurons. An inflammatory cascade including COX2 expression, secretion of cytokines and release of NO from astrocytes may descend from activation of a NF-κB-mediated pathway observed in astrocytes from ALS patients and in experimental models. We have attempted rescue of transgenic mutant SOD1 mice through the inhibition of the NF-κB pathway selectively in astrocytes. Here we show that despite efficient inhibition of this major pathway, double transgenic mice expressing the mutant SOD1(G93A) ubiquitously and the dominant negative form of IκBα (IκBαAA) in astrocytes under control of the GFAP promoter show no benefit in terms of onset and progression of disease. Our data indicate that motor neuron death in ALS cannot be prevented by inhibition of a single inflammatory pathway because alternative pathways are activated in the presence of a persistent toxic stimulus.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis / metabolism
  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis / pathology*
  • Animals
  • Astrocytes / pathology*
  • Cyclooxygenase 2 / metabolism
  • Disease Models, Animal*
  • Disease Progression
  • Mice
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Mutation
  • NF-kappa B / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Superoxide Dismutase / genetics


  • NF-kappa B
  • Cyclooxygenase 2
  • Superoxide Dismutase