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Molecular brain

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis patient iPSC-derived astrocytes impair autophagy via non-cell autonomous mechanisms.


PMID 28610619

Abstract

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, a devastating neurodegenerative disease, is characterized by the progressive loss of motor neurons and the accumulation of misfolded protein aggregates. The latter suggests impaired proteostasis may be a key factor in disease pathogenesis, though the underlying mechanisms leading to the accumulation of aggregates is unclear. Further, recent studies have indicated that motor neuron cell death may be mediated by astrocytes. Herein we demonstrate that ALS patient iPSC-derived astrocytes modulate the autophagy pathway in a non-cell autonomous manner. We demonstrate cells treated with patient derived astrocyte conditioned medium demonstrate decreased expression of LC3-II, a key adapter protein required for the selective degradation of p62 and ubiquitinated proteins targeted for degradation. We observed an increased accumulation of p62 in cells treated with patient conditioned medium, with a concomitant increase in the expression of SOD1, a protein associated with the development of ALS. Activation of autophagic mechanisms with Rapamycin reduces the accumulation of p62 puncta in cells treated with patient conditioned medium. These data suggest that patient astrocytes may modulate motor neuron cell death by impairing autophagic mechanisms, and the autophagy pathway may be a useful target in the development of novel therapeutics.