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Induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC)-derived motor neurons (MNs) from patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and the C9ORF72 hexanucleotide repeat expansion (HRE) have multiple cellular phenotypes, but which of these accurately reflect the biology underlying the cell-specific vulnerability of ALS is uncertain. We therefore compared phenotypes due to the C9ORF72 HRE in MNs with sensory neurons (SNs), which are relatively spared in ALS. The iPSC models were able to partially reproduce the differential gene expression seen between adult SNs and MNs. We demonstrated that the typical hallmarks of C9ORF72-ALS, including RNA foci and dipeptide formation, as well as specific axonal transport defects, occurred equally in MNs and SNs, suggesting that these in vitro phenotypes are not sufficient to explain the cell-type selectivity of ALS in isolation.

Original publication




Journal article


Stem Cell Reports

Publication Date



amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, induced pluripotent stem cells, motor neuron, selective vulnerability, sensory neuron