New Development In The Relief Of Spasms Related To Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis
Paralysis is accompanied by other symptoms, which can be highly disabling on a daily basis. Spasms (or spasticity) are an exaggerated muscular response to a stimulus; they produce long and involuntary muscle contractions, coupled with pain. Spasticity is frequently observed in ALS. Until now, it was attributed to the loss of central motor neurons.
In this study, Inserm researchers have shown that these spasms are, in fact, linked to the degeneration of another type of serotonin-producing neurons located on the brain.
They have observed - both in patients with ALS and in a transgenic mouse model - that serotonergic neurons waste away as the disease develops and that serotonin levels in the spinal cord sharply decreased before the motor-related symptoms appeared.
Furthermore, some molecules active against serotonin receptors eliminate spasms in transgenic mice suffering from ALS. This research demonstrates that neuron degeneration in ALS is not limited to the motor system in its strictest sense. For Luc Dupuis "molecules acting on serotonin receptors 5-HT2B and C could be antispastic for ALS patients over the long-term".
This work is protected by a patent filed by Inserm Transfert.
Sources: Degeneration of serotonin neurons in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis: a link to spasticity
Christel DENTEL, MD1,2,3, Lavinia PALAMIUC, MaSc1,2, Alexandre HENRIQUES, PhD1,2 Béatrice LANNES, MD, PhD2,4, Odile SPREUX-VAROQUAUX, PhD5,6,7, Lise GUTKNECHT, PhD8,9, Frédérique RENE, PhD1,2, Andoni ECHANIZ-LAGUNA, MD, PhD1,2,3, Jose-Luis GONZALEZ DE AGUILAR, PhD1,2, Klaus Peter LESCH, MD8,10, Vincent MEININGER, MD, PhD11,12 Jean-Philippe LOEFFLER, PhD1,2 & Luc DUPUIS, PhD1,2,12,13
INSERM (Institut national de la santé et de la recherche médicale)
Source: EurekAlert!, the online, global news service operated by AAAS, the science society
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