Evidence of hydrogen sulfide involvement in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis

Alessandro Davoli, Viviana Greco, Alida Spalloni, Ezia Guatteo, Cristina Neri, Giada Ricciardo Rizzo, Alberto Cordella, Andrea Romigi, Claudio Cortese, Sergio Bernardini, Paola Sarchielli, Gabriela Cardaioli, Paolo Calabresi, Nicola B. Mercuri, Andrea Urbani, Patrizia Longone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a motor neuron disease whose pathophysiological deficits, causing impairment in motor function, are largely unknown. Here we propose that hydrogen sulfide (H2S), as a glial-released inflammatory factor, contributes to ALS-mediated motor neuron death. Methods H2S concentrations were analyzed in the cerebrospinal fluid of 37 sporadic ALS patients and 14 age- and gender-matched controls, in tissues of a familial ALS (fALS) mouse model, and in spinal cord culture media by means of a specific and innovative high-performance liquid chromatography method. The effects of H2S on motor neurons cultures was analyzed immunohistochemically and by patch clamp recordings and microfluorometry. Results We found a significantly high level of H2S in the spinal fluid of the ALS patients. Consistently, we found increased levels of H2S in the tissues and in the media from mice spinal cord cultures bearing the fALS mutation SOD1G93A. In addition, NaHS, an H2S donor, added to spinal culture, obtained from control C57BL/6J mice, is toxic for motor neurons, and induces an intracellular Ca2+ increase, attenuated by the intracytoplasmatic application of adenosine triphosphate. We further show that H2S is mainly released by astrocytes and microglia. Interpretation This study unravels H2S as an astroglial mediator of motor neuron damage possibly involved in the cellular death characterizing ALS. Ann Neurol 2015;77:697-709

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)697-709
Number of pages13
JournalAnnals of Neurology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 1 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Medicine(all)


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