Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) is an adult-onset and fast progression neurodegenerative disease promoted by the loss of motor neurons, leading to death within 2-5 years. Glial cells have been implicated in the neuronal death by releasing toxic factors or by loosing physiological functions. The interaction between the prion protein (PrPC) in the neuronal surface and its ligand STI1, released by astrocytes in extracellular vesicles, promotes protection to both cell types. Thus, the signaling PrPC/STI1 was described to be important to astrocyte-neuron communication and it this complex might have a therapeutic role in ALS.In this study, the expressions of PrPC and STI1 will be evaluated in different ages of the SOD1G93A transgenic mice, carrying the human mutant SOD1, which is the most employed animal model in the ALS research. Also, STI1 will be quantified in extracellular vesicles released by SOD1G93A astrocytes when compared to controls. The establishment of co-cultures will allow evaluating the influence of a STI1 peptide, that mimics the bond site to PrPC, over the SOD1G93A and wild-type motor neurons death induced by SOD1G93A astrocytes. Once confirmed the neuroprotection promoted by the peptide in this model, its effect will be evaluated in vivo in the SOD1G93A transgenic mouse. Furthermore, transgenic mouse overexpressing the STI1 protein (TgA) will be mated with the SOD1G93A and the disease course will be evaluated. This study might contribute to the identification of therapeutic approaches to this devastating disease.
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