An ALS mouse model with a permeable blood–brain barrier benefits from systemic cyclosporine A treatment


Address correspondence and reprint requests to Carlos T. Moraes PhD, University of Miami School of Medicine, 1095 NW 14th Terrace, Miami, FL 33136, USA. E-mail:


To test potentially beneficial drugs to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), we created an ALS mouse model with a permeable blood–brain barrier, by crossing the G93A-SOD1 transgenic mouse with a multiple drug resistance type 1a/b (mdr1a/b) gene knockout mouse. To validate the model, we administered cyclosporine A intraperitoneally to the mice. Cyclosporine A accumulated in the brain and spinal cord of this mouse model, whereas it was unable to penetrate the CNS of mdr1a/b wild-type animals. Systemic administration of cyclosporine A extended the life of the double-mutant male mice by approximately 12%. Surprisingly, the effect was more robust in male mice and only marginal in female mice. These results demonstrate the usefulness of this combined mouse model for the testing of potentially therapeutic drugs and support the role of mitochondrial-mediated apoptosis in the pathway to motor neuron death in SOD1-associated ALS.