Ultrastructural evidence of calcium involvement in experimental autoimmune gray matter disease

Maria E. Alexianu, Emilia Manole, Joseph I. Engelhardt, Stanley H. Appel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Experimental studies have suggested that increased calcium and inappropriate calcium handling by motoneurons might have a significant role in motoneuron degeneration. To further define the involvement of calcium in motoneuron loss we used the oxalate-pyroantimonate technique for calcium fixation and monitored the ultrastructural distribution of calcium in spinal motoneurons in experimental autoimmune gray matter disease (EAGMD). In cervical and hypoglossal motoneurons from animals with relatively preserved upper extremity and bulbar function, increased calcium precipitates were present in the cytoplasm as well as in mitochondria, endoplasmic reticulum and Golgi complex without significant morphologic alterations. In surviving lumbar motoneurons of animals with hindlimb paralysis, however, there was massive morphological destruction of intracellular organelles but no significant accumulation of calcium precipitates. These findings suggest that altered calcium homeostasis is involved in motoneuron immune-mediated injury with increased calcium precipitates early in the disease process and decreased to absent calcium precipitates later in the pathogenesis of motoneuron injury. (C) 2000 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)98-105
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Neuroscience Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2000


  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
  • Calcium
  • Immune-mediated model
  • Motoneuron

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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