Targeting S100A4 with niclosamide attenuates inflammatory and profibrotic pathways in models of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis

Serena Lattante, Mario Sabatelli, Martina Milani, Eleonora Mammarella, Simona Rossi, Chiara Miele, Mauro Cozzolino, Nadia D’Ambrosi, Savina Apolloni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: An increasing number of studies evidences that amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is characterized by extensive alterations in different cell types and in different regions besides the CNS. We previously reported the upregulation in ALS models of a gene called fibroblast-specific protein-1 or S100A4, recognized as a pro-inflammatory and profibrotic factor. Since inflammation and fibrosis are often mutual-sustaining events that contribute to establish a hostile environment for organ functions, the comprehension of the elements responsible for these interconnected pathways is crucial to disclose novel aspects involved in ALS pathology. Methods: Here, we employed fibroblasts derived from ALS patients harboring the C9orf72 hexanucleotide repeat expansion and ALS patients with no mutations in known ALS-associated genes and we downregulated S100A4 using siRNA or the S100A4 transcriptional inhibitor niclosamide. Mice overexpressing human FUS were adopted to assess the effects of niclosamide in vivo on ALS pathology. Results: We demonstrated that S100A4 underlies impaired autophagy and a profibrotic phenotype, which characterize ALS fibroblasts. Indeed, its inhibition reduces inflammatory, autophagic, and profibrotic pathways in ALS fibroblasts, and interferes with different markers known as pathogenic in the disease, such as mTOR, SQSTM1/p62, STAT3, α-SMA, and NF-κB. Importantly, niclosamide in vivo treatment of ALS-FUS mice reduces the expression of S100A4, α-SMA, and PDGFRβ in the spinal cord, as well as gliosis in central and peripheral nervous tissues, together with axonal impairment and displays beneficial effects on muscle atrophy, by promoting muscle regeneration and reducing fibrosis. Conclusion: Our findings show that S100A4 has a role in ALS-related mechanisms, and that drugs such as niclosamide which are able to target inflammatory and fibrotic pathways could represent promising pharmacological tools for ALS.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)132-132
Number of pages1
JournalJournal of Neuroinflammation
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • ALS
  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis
  • Animals
  • Animals, Genetically Modified
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • FUS
  • Fibroblasts
  • Fibrosis
  • Humans
  • Inflammation
  • Mice
  • Mutation
  • NF-kappa B
  • Neurodegeneration
  • Niclosamide
  • RNA-Binding Protein FUS
  • S100 Calcium-Binding Protein A4
  • S100A4
  • Signal Transduction
  • TOR Serine-Threonine Kinases
  • α-SMA


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