BackgroundAmyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) represents a devastating, progressive, heterogeneous, and the most common motor neuron (MN) disease. To date, no cure has been available for the condition. Studies with transgenic mice have yielded significant results that help us understand the underlying mechanisms of ALS. Nonetheless, none of more than 30 large clinical trials over the past 20 years proved successful, which led some researchers to challenge the validity of the preclinical models.MethodsHuman-induced pluripotent cells (iPSCs) were established by introducing Sendai virus into fibroblast cells. We established TDP-43 HES by inserting CAG-TDP43 (G298S) cassette or the CAG-EGFP cassette into PPP1R12C-locus of human embryonic stem cells (ESC, H9) by TALEN-mediated homologous recombination. iPSCs or HESC were differentiated to motor neurons and non-motor neuron as control. Relevant biomarkers were detected in different differentiated stages. TDP-43 aggregates, neurofilament, and mitochondria analyses were performed.ResultsIn this study, using iPSCs-derived human MN from an ALS patient with a TDP43 G298S mutation and two sporadic ALS patients, we showed that both sporadic and familial ALS were characterized by TDP-43 aggregates in the surviving MN. Significantly higher neurofilament (NF) inclusion was also found in ALS MN compared with wild-type (WT) GM15 controls (P < 0.05). The neurite mitochondria density was significantly lower in ALS MN than that in the control MNs. Transgenesis of TDP-43 G298S into AAVS locus in human embryonic stem cells reproduced phenotype of patient-derived G289S MN. By challenging MNs with a proteasome inhibitor, we found that MNs were more vulnerable to MG132, with some accompanying phenotype changes, such as TDP43 translocation, NF inclusion, mitochondria distribution impairment, and activation of caspase3.ConclusionsOur results suggested that changes in TDP43 protein, NF inclusion, and distribution impairment of mitochondria are common early pathology both in familial and sporadic ALS. These findings will help us gain insight into the pathogenesis of the condition and screen relevant drugs for the disease.