Unaffected motor endplate occupancy in eye muscles of ALS G93A mouse model

Front Biosci (Schol Ed). 2012 Jun 1;4:1547-55. doi: 10.2741/s351.


Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a progressive, lethal neurodegenerative disorder characterised by selective loss of motor neurons with accompanying muscle paralysis and respiratory failure. Despite progressive paralysis in trunk and extremity muscles, disturbed eye motility is not a hallmark of ALS. Extraocular muscles (EOMs) of terminal ALS patients show far less morphological signs of disease than their limb muscles. One of the earliest signs of the disease in the transgenic G93A SOD1 mouse model of ALS is loss of motor neuron contact at the neuromuscular junctions (NMJ) in limb muscles. We used immunohistochemistry to identify NMJs and evaluate innervation in EOMs and limb muscles of G93A mice. In G93A limb muscles, loss of axonal contact was seen in 6-82 percent of the NMJs. On the contrary, the degree of endplate occupancy in the EOMs did not differ between transgenic mice and wild-type controls. We propose that EOM-specific properties make these muscles more resistant to the underlying pathophysiological process of ALS and that the EOMs are a useful model to advance our understanding of ALS.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis / metabolism
  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis / pathology*
  • Animals
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Motor Endplate / metabolism
  • Motor Endplate / pathology*
  • Motor Neurons / metabolism
  • Motor Neurons / pathology
  • Neuromuscular Junction / metabolism
  • Neuromuscular Junction / pathology
  • Oculomotor Muscles / innervation*