University of Arizona Research Team Discovers ALS Diseased Neurons Respond Favorably to Glucose

Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis

University of Arizona researchers have identified that increasing glucose, transformed into energy, can potentially give people afflicted with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), improved mobility and a longer life.

It is known that ALS patients experience hypermetabolism.  Those with ALS use more energy while resting than normal while simultaneously struggling to make use of glucose—the precise ingredient used to make energy.  Historically experts haven’t known what happens in patient’s cells to cause such a dysfunction and how to alleviate.

The Findings

The University of Arizona research revealed that when ALS-affected neurons are given more glucose, they convert that power source into energy. Thereafter, they are able to survive longer and function better.  Therefore, increasing glucose delivery to the cells may be one way to meet the abnormally high energy demands of ALS patients.

Lead Research/Investigator

Daniela Zarnescu, University of Arizona professor of molecular and cellular biology