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Lead exposure stimulates VEGF expression in the spinal cord and extends survival in a mouse model of ALS.

Abstract : Exposure to environmental lead (Pb) is a mild risk factor for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a paralytic disease characterized by progressive degeneration of motor neurons. However, recent evidence has paradoxically linked higher Pb levels in ALS patients with longer survival. We investigated the effects of low-level Pb exposure on survival of mice expressing the ALS-linked superoxide dismutase-1 G93A mutation (SOD1(G93A)). SOD1(G93A) mice exposed to Pb showed longer survival and increased expression of VEGF in the ventral horn associated with reduced astrocytosis. Pretreatment of cultured SOD1(G93A) astrocytes with low, non toxic Pb concentrations upregulated VEGF expression and significantly abrogated motor neuron loss in coculture, an effect prevented by neutralizing antibodies to VEGF. The actions of Pb on astrocytes might explain its paradoxical slowing of disease progression in SOD1(G93A) mice and the improved survival of ALS patients. Understanding how Pb stimulates astrocytic VEGF production and reduces neuroinflammation may yield a new therapeutic approach for treating ALS.
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Submitted on : Friday, March 30, 2012 - 9:19:58 PM
Last modification on : Monday, October 8, 2018 - 5:44:05 PM

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Ana G Barbeito, Laura Martinez-Palma, Marcelo R Vargas, Mariana Pehar, Nelly Mañay, et al.. Lead exposure stimulates VEGF expression in the spinal cord and extends survival in a mouse model of ALS.. Neurobiology of Disease, Elsevier, 2010, 37 (3), pp.574-80. ⟨10.1016/j.nbd.2009.11.007⟩. ⟨pasteur-00684215⟩

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