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Selection of Potential Pharmacological Targets in ALS Based on Whole- Genome Expression Profiling

[ Vol. 22 , Issue. 17 ]


Giovanna Morello, Francesca Luisa Conforti, Rosalba Parenti, Velia D’Agata and Sebastiano Cavallaro   Pages 2004 - 2021 ( 18 )


Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a fatal disease caused by the gradual degeneration and death of upper and lower motor neurons. Despite continue efforts, the etiology and pathogenesis of ALS are not well understood yet. The lack of knowledge about molecular and cellular players involved in the neurodegenerative progression of ALS hinders effective therapy development. Several genomicbased studies have been conducted to identify genetic contributors to sporadic ALS (SALS) and new potential pharmacological targets, but these have resulted in short and non-overlapping lists of candidates. In the last few years, our research group has developed the largest whole-genome expression profile database of SALS human samples. We have identified several genes deregulated in the motor cortex of SALS patients and analyzed the role of these genes within deregulated pathways, providing a full molecular portrait of ALS pathogenesis. Some of deregulated genes encode for proteins that are direct or indirect targets of experimental or therapeutic drugs already applied to unrelated diseases. In this review, we focus on the potential role of candidate targets in ALS pathophysiology, highlighting their possible contribution to ALS therapy. The rational selection of the most promising drug targets and related modulatory drugs may provide a starting point for their preclinical or clinical validation and, hopefully, the development of more effective treatments for ALS patients.


ALS, drug, pharmacology, pathway, target.


, , , , Istituto di Scienze Neurologiche, CNR, Via Paolo Gaifami, 18, 95125 Catania, Italy.

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