Modeling the neuroanatomic propagation of ALS in the spinal cord

Brian Drawert, Nimish Thakore, Brian Mitchell, Erik Pioro, John Ravits, Linda R. Petzold*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

1 Scopus citations


Recent hypotheses of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) progression have posited a point-source origin of motor neuron death with neuroanatomic propagation either contiguously to adjacent regions, or along networks via axonal and synaptic connections. Although the molecular mechanisms of propagation are unknown, one leading hypothesis is a "prion-like" spread of misfolded and aggregated proteins, including SOD1 and TDP-43. We have developed a mathematical model representing cellular and molecular spread of ALS in the human spinal cord. Our model is based on the stochastic reaction-diffusion master equation approach using a tetrahedral discretized space to capture the complex geometry of the spinal cord. Domain dimension and shape was obtained by reconstructing human spinal cord from high-resolution magnetic resonance (MR) images and known gross and histological neuroanatomy. Our preliminary results qualitatively recapitulate the clinically observed pattern of spread of ALS thorough the spinal cord.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationInternational Conference of Numerical Analysis and Applied Mathematics, ICNAAM 2016
EditorsTheodore E. Simos, Theodore E. Simos, Charalambos Tsitouras
PublisherAmerican Institute of Physics Inc.
ISBN (Electronic)9780735415386
StatePublished - Jul 21 2017
EventInternational Conference of Numerical Analysis and Applied Mathematics 2016, ICNAAM 2016 - Rhodes, Greece
Duration: Sep 19 2016Sep 25 2016

Publication series

NameAIP Conference Proceedings
ISSN (Print)0094-243X
ISSN (Electronic)1551-7616


ConferenceInternational Conference of Numerical Analysis and Applied Mathematics 2016, ICNAAM 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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