Motor neuron degeneration, severe myopathy and TDP-43 increase in a transgenic pig model of SOD1-linked familiar ALS

Neurobiol Dis. 2019 Apr;124:263-275. doi: 10.1016/j.nbd.2018.11.021. Epub 2018 Nov 22.


Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) is a neural disorder gradually leading to paralysis of the whole body. Alterations in superoxide dismutase SOD1 gene have been linked with several variants of familial ALS. Here, we investigated a transgenic (Tg) cloned swine model expressing the human pathological hSOD1G93A allele. As in patients, these Tg pigs transmitted the disease to the progeny with an autosomal dominant trait and showed ALS onset from about 27 months of age. Post mortem analysis revealed motor neuron (MN) degeneration, gliosis and hSOD1 protein aggregates in brainstem and spinal cord. Severe skeletal muscle pathology including necrosis and inflammation was observed at the end stage, as well. Remarkably, as in human patients, these Tg pigs showed a quite long presymptomatic phase in which gradually increasing amounts of TDP-43 were detected in peripheral blood mononuclear cells. Thus, this transgenic swine model opens the unique opportunity to investigate ALS biomarkers even before disease onset other than testing novel drugs and possible medical devices.

Keywords: ALS; Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis; SOD1; TDP-43; Transgenic pig.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis / genetics
  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis / pathology*
  • Animals
  • Animals, Genetically Modified
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Humans
  • Motor Neurons / pathology*
  • Muscular Diseases / genetics*
  • Muscular Diseases / pathology
  • Nerve Degeneration / genetics*
  • Nerve Degeneration / pathology
  • Superoxide Dismutase-1 / genetics*
  • Swine
  • TDP-43 Proteinopathies / genetics*
  • TDP-43 Proteinopathies / pathology


  • SOD1 protein, human
  • Superoxide Dismutase-1