A group of researchers from the Pasteur Institute of Montevideo, the Clemente Estable Institute (both from Uruguay) and the Linus Pauling Institute of the Oregon State University (United States) have identified a class of nerve cells, related to the development of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig's disease, name of a famous American baseball player who died from this serious degenerative pathology.

The functioning of the cells discovered in the research, published in 'Proceedings of the National Academy of Science', is anomalous and causes the death of motor neurons, which is the cause of the main symptoms of the disease: weakness severe and progressive muscle, which leads to paralysis and death of the patient.

The aberrant astrocytes (AbA), as scientists have called these cells, are found in the brain and are usually responsible for providing metabolic support to neurons, in addition to protecting them. However, they can become toxic and then be the cause of the death of motor neurons.

Scientists have detected the presence of these harmful cells along with dead motor neurons in the spinal cord of animals that had developed the disease, and various experiments have shown that when AbA is transferred to the marrow of healthy animals, they can also develop ALS. .

The researchers hope that this discovery contributes to facilitate the development of new drugs that fight these cells, with the aim of delaying or slowing the progression of this pathology, which currently has no cure.


Stem Cell Implications for ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis) (November 2019).