Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis is a fatal disease resulting from motor neuron degeneration in the cortex and spinal cord. Cortical hyperexcitability is a hallmark feature of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and is accompanied by decreased intracortical inhibition. Using electrophysiological patch-clamp recordings, we revealed parvalbumin interneurons to be hypoactive in the late pre-symptomatic SOD1*G93A mouse model of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. We discovered that using adeno-associated virus-mediated delivery of chemogenetic technology targeted to increase the activity of the interneurons within layer 5 of the primary motor cortex, we were able to rescue intracortical inhibition and reduce pyramidal neuron hyperexcitability. Increasing the activity of interneurons in the layer 5 of the primary motor cortex was effective in delaying the onset of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis-associated motor deficits, slowing symptom progression, preserving neuronal populations, and increasing the lifespan of SOD1*G93A mice. Taken together, this study provides novel insights into the pathogenesis and treatment of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.
Keywords: amyotrophic lateral sclerosis; chemogenetics; inhibitory synaptic transmission; parvalbumin; primary motor cortex.
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