Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a fatal neurological disease, which is characterized by the degeneration of motor neurons in the motor cortex and the spinal cord and subsequently by muscle atrophy. To date, numerous gene mutations have been linked to both sporadic and familial ALS, but the effort of many experimental groups to develop a suitable therapy has not, as of yet, proven successful. The original focus was on the degenerating motor neurons, when researchers tried to understand the pathological mechanisms that cause their slow death. However, it was soon discovered that ALS is a complicated and diverse pathology, where not only neurons, but also other cell types, play a crucial role via the so-called non-cell autonomous effect, which strongly deteriorates neuronal conditions. Subsequently, variable glia-based in vitro and in vivo models of ALS were established and used for brand-new experimental and clinical approaches. Such a shift towards glia soon bore its fruit in the form of several clinical studies, which more or less successfully tried to ward the unfavourable prognosis of ALS progression off. In this review, we aimed to summarize current knowledge regarding the involvement of each glial cell type in the progression of ALS, currently available treatments, and to provide an overview of diverse clinical trials covering pharmacological approaches, gene, and cell therapies.
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