A novel assessment of fine-motor function reveals early hindlimb and detectable forelimb deficits in an experimental model of ALS.

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Sci Rep, Volume 12, Issue 1, p.17010 (2022)


Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, Animals, Disease Models, Animal, Forelimb, Hindlimb, Mice, Mice, Transgenic, Superoxide Dismutase, Superoxide Dismutase-1


<p>Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a neurodegenerative disorder associated with the loss of cortical and spinal motor neurons (MNs) and muscle degeneration (Kiernan et al. in Lancet 377:942-955, 2011). In the preclinical setting, functional tests that can detect early changes in motor function in rodent models of ALS are critical to understanding the etiology of the disease and treatment development. Here, we established a string-pulling paradigm that can detect forelimb and hindlimb motor deficits in the SOD1 mouse model of ALS earlier than traditional motor performance tasks. Additionally, our findings indicate that early loss of forelimb and hindlimb function is correlated with cortical and spinal MN loss, respectively. This task is not only ecological, low-cost, efficient, and non-onerous, it also requires little animal handling and reduces the stress placed on the animal. It has long been a concern in the field that the SOD1 mouse does not display forelimb motor deficits and does not give researchers a complete picture of the disease. Here, we provide evidence that the SOD1 model does in fact develop early forelimb motor deficits due to the task's ability to assess fine-motor function, reconciling this model with the various clinical presentation of ALS. Taken together, the string-pulling paradigm may provide novel insights into the pathogenesis of ALS, offer nuanced evaluation of prospective treatments, and has high translational potential to the clinic.</p>

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