Astrocytes and Microglia as Non-cell Autonomous Players in the Pathogenesis of ALS

Exp Neurobiol. 2016 Oct;25(5):233-240. doi: 10.5607/en.2016.25.5.233. Epub 2016 Oct 20.


Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a devastating neurodegenerative disorder that leads to a progressive muscle wasting and paralysis. The pathological phenotypes are featured by severe motor neuron death and glial activation in the lumbar spinal cord. Proposed ALS pathogenic mechanisms include glutamate cytotoxicity, inflammatory pathway, oxidative stress, and protein aggregation. However, the exact mechanisms of ALS pathogenesis are not fully understood yet. Recently, a growing body of evidence provides a novel insight on the importance of glial cells in relation to the motor neuronal damage via the non-cell autonomous pathway. Accordingly, the aim of the current paper is to overview the role of astrocytes and microglia in the pathogenesis of ALS and to better understand the disease mechanism of ALS.

Keywords: amyotrophic lateral sclerosis; astrocyte; microglia; motor neuron; non-cell autonomous toxicity.

Publication types

  • Review