• Ando Y, Liang Y, Ishigaki S, Niwa J, Jiang Y, Kobayashi Y, Yamamoto M, Doyu M and Sobue G (2003). Caspase-1 and -3 mRNAs are differentially upregulated in motor neurons and glial cells in mutant SOD1 transgenic mouse spinal cord: a study using laser microdissection and real-time RT-PCR. Neurochem Res 28:839-46. Summary: Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis is characterized by selective motor neuron degeneration. An apoptotic pathway is thought to be involved. It is difficult, however, to analyze the molecular pathogenic mechanism in single motor neurons because of complexity in the neural tissue, which consists of multiple lineages of cells neighboring motor neurons. We quantified the caspase-1 and -3 mRNA in single motor neurons and neighboring glial cells isolated from the spinal ventral horn of mutant SOD1 transgenic (Tg) mice and littermates. Motor neurons and neighboring glial cells were isolated from spinal sections by laser microdissection, and the mRNAs were quantified by RT-PCR. In the Tg mice, caspase-1 mRNA was first upregulated in motor neurons and second in glial cells. The caspase-3 mRNA was increased in motor neurons following the caspase-1 mRNA. These results indicated that caspase-1 and -3 mRNAs are differentially upregulated in motor neurons and glial cells of the Tg mice, and that mRNAs in isolated cells can be accurately assessed using our procedures. Department of Neurology, Nagoya University Graduate School of Medicine, 65 Tsurumai-cho, Showa-ku, Nagoya 466-8550, Japan.