Muscle-Bone Crosstalk in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis

Document Type


Publication Title

Current Osteoporosis Reports


Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also called Lou Gehrig's disease, is a fatal neuromuscular disorder characterized by degeneration of motor neurons and by skeletal muscle atrophy. Although the death of motor neurons is a pathological hallmark of ALS, the potential role of other organs in disease progression remains to be elucidated. Skeletal muscle and bone are the two largest organs in the human body. They are responsible not only for locomotion but also for maintaining whole body normal metabolism and homeostasis. Patients with ALS display severe muscle atrophy, which may reflect intrinsic defects in mitochondrial respiratory function and calcium (Ca) signaling in muscle fibers, in addition to the role of axonal withdrawal associated with ALS progression. Incidence of fractures is high in ALS patients, indicating there are potential bone defects in individuals with this condition. There is a lifelong interaction between skeletal muscle and bone. The severe muscle degeneration that occurs during ALS progression may potentially have a significant impact on bone function, and the defective bone may also contribute significantly to neuromuscular degeneration in the course of the disease. Due to the nature of the rapid and severe neuromuscular symptoms, a majority of studies on ALS have focused on neurodegeneration. Just a few studies have explored the possible contribution of muscle defects, even fewer on bone defects, and fewer still on possible muscle-bone crosstalk in ALS. This review article discusses current studies on bone defects and potential defects in muscle-bone crosstalk in ALS.



Publication Date



ALS, musculoskeletal pathology, animal disease models