Monday, March 25, 2024

A New Connection Between ALS and FTLD

What we know about amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), commonly called Lou Gehrig's disease, and frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD) is that they are both neurological disorders. This article suggests that they may arise from a similar genetic root. 
    Using 73 postmortem brain samples, scientist at MIT and the Mayo Clinic compiled gene expression patterns in 620,000 cells of 44 different cell types, and of individuals who had ALS, FTLD, or were unaffected. The pattern they noticed was that in both diseases, the cells responsible for each disorder had nearly identical expression. The study also confirmed some already present theories of the diseases, like genes we thought to be linked to them showing up in the particular gene expression of problematic cells. The last big discovery showed a pattern of a compromised blood brain barrier in the brains of people with either disease. 
    These findings are significant because it narrows down our understanding of the disease mechanisms by relating them. If we can prove they arise from thr same pathway, possibly even through the same exact genes, we can look what other similarities they have and find the root problem that the genes are causing. It could be in the neurons or the blood brain barrier, neither, or both. And of course, the more we know, the better we can treat.


Posted by: Michael Breslin

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