The pathogenesis of the motor neuronal degeneration in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is unclear, though several possible etiological factors are currently being investigated. A unifying hypothesis will have to explain the diverse geographical occurrence, clinical features, and selective vulnerability and relative resistance of different neuronal populations in the disease. It is possible that different biochemical defects underlie this diversity, or alternatively that the many factors incriminated in the etiology may act upon an underlying genetic-biochemical abnormality to trigger premature neuronal death. Viruses, metals, endogenous toxins, immune dysfunction, endocrine abnormalities, impaired DNA repair, altered axonal transport, and trauma have all been etiologically linked with ALS, but convincing research evidence of a causative role for any of these factors is yet to be demonstrated.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Neurology