Motor neuron disease happens when motor neurons are destroyed. Motor neurons are neurons that send electrical output signals to muscle neurons, also called motoneurons, which are found in the brain and spine. So, what are the causes of motor neuron disease? Well, here we will discuss some suspected causes of the disease.
Glutamate is a neurotransmitter, a messenger chemical that transmits data from cell-to-cell. People with motor neuron disease tend to have too much glutamate. Abnormally high levels of glutamate may be toxic and could lead to a disturbance in the chemical communication required for good nerve function. So, excess glutamate may be a cause of motor neuron disease.
Transport systems exist in all cells. They bring nutrients and chemical components into the cell, while at the same time move waste products out. There are indications that these transport systems are disturbed in the motor neurons during the initial stages of motor neuron disease, resulting in poor nerve function. Therefore, cell metabolism may be potential cause of motor neuron disease.
Lack of antioxidant production
There are some indications showing that the motor neurons of patients with motor neuron disease do not produce enough antioxidants to neutralize the free radicals that emerge as a natural by-product of cell activity. That is to say that lack of antioxidant production may be a cause of motor neuron disease.
Mitochondria of motor neurons
It is found that the mitochondria of motor neuron cells of people with motor neuron disease appear to be abnormal. Mitochondria provide the energy cells need to carry out their normal function. Abnormal mitochondria may lead to motor neuron cells destruction, thus causing motor neuron disease.
These are molecules, usually proteins that facilitate the growth or repair of nerve cells. It has been found that neurotrophic factors are not produced properly in patients with motor neuron disease, making the motor neurons more susceptible to damage.