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Mediators of Inflammation
Volume 2017, Article ID 7070469, 9 pages
Research Article

Neuroinflammation and ALS: Transcriptomic Insights into Molecular Disease Mechanisms and Therapeutic Targets

Institute of Neurological Sciences, Italian National Research Council, Catania, Italy

Correspondence should be addressed to Sebastiano Cavallaro; ti.rnc@orallavac.onaitsabes

Received 20 March 2017; Revised 23 June 2017; Accepted 11 July 2017; Published 7 September 2017

Academic Editor: Thomas Möller

Copyright © 2017 Giovanna Morello et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a neurodegenerative disease affecting the motor nervous system. Despite the mechanism underlying motor neuron death is not yet clarified, multiple pathogenic processes have been proposed to account for ALS. Among these, inflammatory/immune responses have recently gained particular interest, although there are conflicting reports on the role of these processes in ALS pathogenesis and treatment. This apparent discrepancy may be due to the absence of an effective stratification of ALS patients into subgroups with markedly different clinical, biological, and molecular features. Our research group recently described genome-wide characterization of motor cortex samples from sporadic ALS (SALS) patients, revealing the existence of molecular and functional heterogeneity in SALS. Here, we reexamine data coming from our previous work, focusing on transcriptomic changes of inflammatory-related genes, in order to investigate their potential contribution in ALS. A total of 1573 inflammatory genes were identified as differentially expressed between SALS patients and controls, characterizing distinct topological pathways and networks, suggestive of specific inflammatory molecular signatures for different patient subgroups. Besides providing promising insights into the intricate relationship between inflammation and ALS, this paper represents a starting point for the rationale design and development of novel and more effective diagnostic and therapeutic applications.