Distinction of sporadic and familial forms of ALS based on mitochondrial characteristics

FASEB J. 2019 Mar;33(3):4388-4403. doi: 10.1096/fj.201801843R. Epub 2018 Dec 14.


Bioenergetic failure, oxidative stress, and changes in mitochondrial morphology are common pathologic hallmarks of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) in several cellular and animal models. Disturbed mitochondrial physiology has serious consequences for proper functioning of the cell, leading to the chronic mitochondrial stress. Mitochondria, being in the center of cellular metabolism, play a pivotal role in adaptation to stress conditions. We found that mitochondrial dysfunction and adaptation processes differ in primary fibroblasts derived from patients diagnosed with either sporadic or familial forms of ALS. The evaluation of mitochondrial parameters such as the mitochondrial membrane potential, the oxygen consumption rate, the activity and levels of respiratory chain complexes, and the levels of ATP, reactive oxygen species, and Ca2+ show that the bioenergetic properties of mitochondria are different in sporadic ALS, familial ALS, and control groups. Comparative statistical analysis of the data set (with use of principal component analysis and support vector machine) identifies and distinguishes 3 separate groups despite the small number of investigated cell lines and high variability in measured parameters. These findings could be a first step in development of a new tool for predicting sporadic and familial forms of ALS and could contribute to knowledge of its pathophysiology.-Walczak, J., Dębska-Vielhaber, G., Vielhaber, S., Szymański, J., Charzyńska, A., Duszyński, J., Szczepanowska, J. Distinction of sporadic and familial forms of ALS based on mitochondrial characteristics.

Keywords: PCA; amyotrophic lateral sclerosis; neurodegeneration; primary fibroblasts.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenosine Triphosphate / biosynthesis
  • Aged
  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis / classification*
  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis / genetics
  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis / pathology
  • Autophagy / drug effects
  • Calcium Signaling / drug effects
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Female
  • Fibroblasts / ultrastructure
  • Genetic Heterogeneity*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Membrane Potential, Mitochondrial / drug effects
  • Middle Aged
  • Mitochondria / drug effects
  • Mitochondria / physiology*
  • Mitochondria / ultrastructure
  • Oxidative Phosphorylation / drug effects
  • Oxygen Consumption / drug effects
  • Primary Cell Culture
  • Principal Component Analysis
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism
  • Support Vector Machine


  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • Adenosine Triphosphate