Institute of Fundamental Technological Research
Polish Academy of Sciences


Stefan Vielhaber

Otto-von-Guericke University (DE)

Recent publications
1.  Dębska-Vielhaber G., Miller I., Peeva V., Zuschratter W., Walczak J., Schreiber S., Petri S., Machts J., Vogt S., Szczepanowska J., Gellerich F.N., Hermann A., Vielhaber S., Kunz W.S., Impairment of mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation in skin fibroblasts of SALS and FALS patients is rescued by in vitro treatment with ROS scavengers, Experimental Neurology, ISSN: 0014-4886, DOI: 10.1016/j.expneurol.2021.113620, Vol.339, pp.113620-1-10, 2021

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a devastating, rapidly progressive, neurodegenerative disorder affecting upper and lower motor neurons. Approximately 10% of patients suffer from familial ALS (FALS) with mutations in different ubiquitously expressed genes including SOD1, C9ORF72, TARDBP, and FUS. There is compelling evidence for mitochondrial involvement in the pathogenic mechanisms of FALS and sporadic ALS (SALS), which is believed to be relevant for disease. Owing to the ubiquitous expression of relevant disease-associated genes, mitochondrial dysfunction is also detectable in peripheral patient tissue. We here report results of a detailed investigation of the functional impairment of mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) in cultured skin fibroblasts from 23 SALS and 17 FALS patients, harboring pathogenic mutations in SOD1, C9ORF72, TARDBP and FUS. A considerable functional and structural mitochondrial impairment was detectable in fibroblasts from patients with SALS. Similarly, fibroblasts from patients with FALS, harboring pathogenic mutations in TARDBP, FUS and SOD1, showed mitochondrial defects, while fibroblasts from C9ORF72 associated FALS showed a very mild impairment detectable in mitochondrial ATP production rates only. While we could not detect alterations in the mtDNA copy number in the SALS or FALS fibroblast cultures, the impairment of OXPHOS in SALS fibroblasts and SOD1 or TARDBP FALS could be rescued by in vitro treatments with CoQ10 (5 μM for 3 weeks) or Trolox (300 μM for 5 days). This underlines the role of elevated oxidative stress as a potential cause for the observed functional effects on mitochondria, which might be relevant disease modifying factors.

amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, skin fibroblasts, mitochondrial dysfunction, oxidative stress

Dębska-Vielhaber G. - Otto-von-Guericke University (DE)
Miller I. - other affiliation
Peeva V. - other affiliation
Zuschratter W. - other affiliation
Walczak J. - IPPT PAN
Schreiber S. - other affiliation
Petri S. - other affiliation
Machts J. - other affiliation
Vogt S. - Otto-von-Guericke University (DE)
Szczepanowska J. - Nencki Institute of Experimental Biology, Polish Academy of Sciences (PL)
Gellerich F.N. - Otto-von-Guericke University (DE)
Hermann A. - other affiliation
Vielhaber S. - Otto-von-Guericke University (DE)
Kunz W.S. - other affiliation
2.  Walczak J., Dębska-Vielhaber G., Vielhaber S., Szymański J., Charzyńska A., Duszyński J., Szczepanowska J., Distinction of sporadic and familial forms of ALS based on mitochondrial characteristics, The FASEB Journal, ISSN: 0892-6638, DOI: 10.1096/fj.201801843R, Vol.33, No.3, pp.4388-4403, 2019

Bioenergetic failure, oxidative stress, and changes in mitochondrial morphology are common pathologic hallmarks of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) in several cellular and animal models. Disturbed mitochondrial physiology has serious consequences for proper functioning of the cell, leading to the chronic mitochondrial stress. Mitochondria, being in the center of cellular metabolism, play a pivotal role in adaptation to stress conditions. We found that mitochondrial dysfunction and adaptation processes differ in primary fibroblasts derived from patients diagnosed with either sporadic or familial forms of ALS. The evaluation of mitochondrial parameters such as the mitochondrial membrane potential, the oxygen consumption rate, the activity and levels of respiratory chain complexes, and the levels of ATP, reactive oxygen species, and Ca2+ show that the bioenergetic properties of mitochondria are different in sporadic ALS, familial ALS, and control groups. Comparative statistical analysis of the data set (with use of principal component analysis and support vector machine) identifies and distinguishes 3 separate groups despite the small number of investigated cell lines and high variability in measured parameters. These findings could be a first step in development of a new tool for predicting sporadic and familial forms of ALS and could contribute to knowledge of its pathophysiology.

amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, neurodegeneration, primary fibroblasts, PCA

Walczak J. - IPPT PAN
Dębska-Vielhaber G. - Otto-von-Guericke University (DE)
Vielhaber S. - Otto-von-Guericke University (DE)
Szymański J. - Nencki Institute of Experimental Biology, Polish Academy of Sciences (PL)
Charzyńska A. - University of Warsaw (PL)
Duszyński J. - Nencki Institute of Experimental Biology, Polish Academy of Sciences (PL)
Szczepanowska J. - Nencki Institute of Experimental Biology, Polish Academy of Sciences (PL)

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