Resveratrol improves motoneuron function and extends survival in SOD1(G93A) ALS mice

Neurotherapeutics. 2014 Apr;11(2):419-32. doi: 10.1007/s13311-013-0253-y.


Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is an adult onset neurodegenerative disease that causes progressive paralysis and death due to degeneration of motoneurons in spinal cord, brainstem and motor cortex. Nowadays, there is no effective therapy and patients die 2-5 years after diagnosis. Resveratrol (trans-3,4',5-trihydroxystilbene) is a natural polyphenol found in grapes, with promising neuroprotective effects since it induces expression and activation of several neuroprotective pathways involving Sirtuin1 and AMPK. The objective of this work was to assess the effect of resveratrol administration on SOD1(G93A) ALS mice. We determined the onset of symptoms by rotarod test and evaluated upper and lower motoneuron function using electrophysiological tests. We assessed the survival of the animals and determined the number of spinal motoneurons. Finally, we further investigated resveratrol mechanism of action by means of western blot and immunohistochemical analysis. Resveratrol treatment from 8 weeks of age significantly delayed disease onset and preserved lower and upper motoneuron function in female and male animals. Moreover, resveratrol significantly extended SOD1(G93A) mice lifespan and promoted survival of spinal motoneurons. Delayed resveratrol administration from 12 weeks of age also improved spinal motoneuron function preservation and survival. Further experiments revealed that resveratrol protective effects were associated with increased expression and activation of Sirtuin 1 and AMPK in the ventral spinal cord. Both mediators promoted normalization of the autophagic flux and, more importantly, increased mitochondrial biogenesis in the SOD1(G93A) spinal cord. Taken together, our findings suggest that resveratrol may represent a promising therapy for ALS.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis / drug therapy*
  • Animals
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Female
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Microglia / drug effects
  • Mitochondria / drug effects
  • Motor Activity / drug effects*
  • Motor Neurons / drug effects*
  • Neuroprotective Agents / pharmacology*
  • Neuroprotective Agents / therapeutic use
  • Resveratrol
  • Sirtuins / metabolism
  • Stilbenes / pharmacology*
  • Stilbenes / therapeutic use
  • Superoxide Dismutase / genetics*
  • Superoxide Dismutase-1


  • Neuroprotective Agents
  • Stilbenes
  • Sod1 protein, mouse
  • Superoxide Dismutase
  • Superoxide Dismutase-1
  • Sirtuins
  • Resveratrol