Very Early Involvement of Innate Immunity in Peripheral Nerve Degeneration in SOD1-G93A Mice

Daniela Francesca Angelini, Federica De Angelis, Valentina Vacca, Eleonora Piras, Chiara Parisi, Michele Nutini, Alida Spalloni, Francesca Pagano, Patrizia Longone, Luca Battistini, Flaminia Pavone, Sara Marinelli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Recent preclinical and clinical evidence suggest that immune system has a role in the progression and prognosis of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), but the identification of a clear mechanism and immune players remains to be elucidated. Here, we have investigated, in 30 and 60 days (presymptomatic) and 120 days (symptomatic) old SOD1-G93A mice, systemic, peripheral, and central innate and adaptive immune and inflammatory response, correlating it with the progression of the neurodegeneration in neuromuscular junction, sciatic nerves, and spinal cord. Surprisingly, we found a very initial (45–60 days) presence of IgG in sciatic nerves together with a gradual enhancement of A20/TNFAIP3 (protein controlling NF-κB signalling) and a concomitantly significant increase and activation of circulating mast cells (MCs) as well as MCs and macrophages in sciatic nerve and an enhancement of IL-6 and IL-10. This immunological frame coincided with a myelin aggregation. The 30–60 days old SOD1-G93A mice didn’t show real elements of neuroinflammation and neurodegeneration in spinal cord. In 120 days old mice macrophages and monocytes are widely diffused in sciatic nerves, peripheral neurodegeneration reaches the tip, high circulating levels of TNFα and IL-2 were found and spinal cord exhibits clear signs of neural damage and infiltrating immune cells. Our results underpin a clear immunological disorder at the origin of ALS axonopathy, in which MCs are involved in the initiation and sustaining of inflammatory events. These data cannot be considered a mere epiphenomenon of motor neuron degeneration and reveal new potential selective immune targets in ALS therapy.

Original languageEnglish
Article number575792
JournalFrontiers in Immunology
Publication statusPublished - Nov 20 2020


  • amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
  • autoimmunity
  • demyelination
  • mast cells
  • monocytes/macrophages
  • peripheral nerve degeneration
  • pro-inflammatory cytokine
  • Wallerian-like degeneration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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