Mutations in the enzyme superoxide dismutase 1 (SOD1) have been linked to the neurodegenerative disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). In this issue of the JCI, Zhong et al. report that the endogenous anticoagulant activated protein C (APC) is able to cross the blood–spinal cord barrier in mice and signal to both neuronal and non-neuronal cells (see the related article beginning on page 3437). This signaling resulted in the suppression of mutant SOD1 synthesis and retarded disease progression in a murine model of ALS. Here we discuss the potential importance of these data and possible relevance to human neurodegenerative diseases.
Charles T. Esmon, Jonathan D. Glass
Potential mechanism for the protection of neural tissue in ALS.