Triheptanoin protects motor neurons and delays the onset of motor symptoms in a mouse model of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis

Tefera, Tesfaye W., Wong, Yide, Barkl-Luke, Mallory E., Ngo, Shyuan T., Thomas, Nicola K., McDonald, Tanya S. and Borges, Karin (2016) Triheptanoin protects motor neurons and delays the onset of motor symptoms in a mouse model of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Plos One, 11 8: . doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0161816


Author Tefera, Tesfaye W.
Wong, Yide
Barkl-Luke, Mallory E.
Ngo, Shyuan T.
Thomas, Nicola K.
McDonald, Tanya S.
Borges, Karin
Title Triheptanoin protects motor neurons and delays the onset of motor symptoms in a mouse model of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
Journal name Plos One   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1932-6203
Publication date 2016-08-26
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0161816
Open Access Status DOI
Volume 11
Issue 8
Total pages 24
Place of publication San Francisco, CA, United States
Publisher Public Library of Science
Collection year 2017
Language eng
Formatted abstract
There is increasing evidence that energy metabolism is disturbed in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) patients and animal models. Treatment with triheptanoin, the triglyceride of heptanoate, is a promising approach to provide alternative fuel to improve oxidative phosphorylation and aid ATP generation. Heptanoate can be metabolized to propionyl-CoA, which after carboxylation can produce succinyl-CoA and thereby re-fill the tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle (anaplerosis). Here we tested the hypothesis that treatment with triheptanoin prevents motor neuron loss and delays the onset of disease symptoms in female mice overexpressing the mutant human SOD1G93A (hSOD1G93A) gene. When oral triheptanoin (35% of caloric content) was initiated at P35, motor neuron loss at 70 days of age was attenuated by 33%. In untreated hSOD1G93A mice, the loss of hind limb grip strength began at 16.7 weeks. Triheptanoin maintained hind limb grip strength for 2.8 weeks longer (p<0.01). Loss of balance on the rotarod and reduction of body weight were delayed by 13 and 11 days respectively (both p<0.01). Improved motor function occurred in parallel with alterations in the expression of genes associated with muscle metabolism. In gastrocnemius muscles, the mRNA levels of pyruvate, 2-oxoglutarate and succinate dehydrogenases and methylmalonyl mutase were reduced by 24–33% in 10 week old hSOD1G93A mice when compared to wild-type mice, suggesting that TCA cycling in skeletal muscle may be slowed in this ALS mouse model at a stage when muscle strength is still normal. At 25 weeks of age, mRNA levels of succinate dehydrogenases, glutamic pyruvic transaminase 2 and the propionyl carboxylase β subunit were reduced by 69–84% in control, but not in triheptanoin treated hSOD1G93A animals. Taken together, our results suggest that triheptanoin slows motor neuron loss and the onset of motor symptoms in ALS mice by improving TCA cycling.
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Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: UQ Centre for Clinical Research Publications
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