Monocyte-Derived Macrophages Contribute to Chitinase Dysregulation in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis: A Pilot Study

Nayana Gaur*, Elena Huss, Tino Prell, Robert Steinbach, Joel Guerra, Akash Srivastava, Otto W. Witte, Julian Grosskreutz

*Corresponding author for this work
1 Citation (Scopus)


Neuroinflammation significantly contributes to Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) pathology. In lieu of this, reports of elevated chitinase levels in ALS are interesting, as they are established surrogate markers of a chronic inflammatory response. While post-mortem studies have indicated glial expression, the cellular sources for these moieties remain to be fully understood. Therefore, the objective of this pilot study was to examine whether the peripheral immune system also contributes to chitinase dysregulation in ALS. The temporal expression of CHIT1, CHI3L1, and CHI3L2 in non-polarized monocyte-derived macrophages (MoMas) from ALS patients and healthy controls (HCs) was examined. We demonstrate that while CHIT1 and CHI3L1 display similar temporal expression dynamics in both groups, profound between-group differences were noted for these targets at later time-points i.e., when cells were fully differentiated. CHIT1 and CHI3L1 expression were significantly higher in MoMas from ALS patients at both the transcriptomic and protein level, with CHI3L1 levels also being influenced by age. Conversely, CHI3L2 expression was not influenced by disease state, culture duration, or age. Here, we demonstrate for the first time, that in ALS, circulating immune cells have an intrinsically augmented potential for chitinase production that may propagate chronic neuroinflammation, and how the ageing immune system itself contributes to neurodegeneration.

Original languageEnglish
Article number629332
JournalFrontiers in Neurology
Publication statusPublished - 14.05.2021

Research Areas and Centers

  • Academic Focus: Center for Brain, Behavior and Metabolism (CBBM)
  • Centers: Center for Neuromuscular Diseases


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