Molecular Neurobiology

, Volume 33, Issue 2, pp 113–131 | Cite as

Mitochondrial involvement in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis

Trigger or target?
  • Sandra R. Bacman
  • Walter G. Bradley
  • Carlos T. Moraes


Despite numerous reports demonstrating mitochondrial abnormalities associated with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), the role of mitochondrial dysfunction in the disease onset and progression remains unknown. The intrinsic mitochondrial apoptotic program is activated in the central nervous system of mouse models of ALS harboring mutant superoxide dismutase 1 protein. This is associated with the release of cytochrome-c from the mitochondrial intermembrane space and mitochondrial swelling. However, it is unclear if the observed mitochondrial changes are caused by the decreasing cellular viability or if these changes precede and actually trigger apoptosis. This article discusses the current evidence for mitochondrial involvement in familial and sporadic ALS and concludes that mitochondria is likely to be both a trigger and a target in ALS and that their demise is a critical step in the motor neuron death.

Index Entries

Mitochondria ALS apoptosis SOD1 


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Copyright information

© Humana Press Inc 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sandra R. Bacman
    • 1
  • Walter G. Bradley
    • 1
    • 3
  • Carlos T. Moraes
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of NeurologyUniversity of Miami, Miller School of MedicineMiami
  2. 2.Department of Cell Biology and AnatomyUniversity of Miami, Miller School of MedicineMiami
  3. 3.Department of The Neuroscience ProgramUniversity of Miami, Miller School of MedicineMiami

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