Abstract: Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) commonly referred to as motor neurone disease, is a neurodegenerative disease of unknown pathogenesis that progresses rapidly and has attracted an increased amount of scholarly interest in recent years. The current conception of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis has transitioned into a more complex theory in which individual genetic risk, ageing and environmental factors interact, leading to disease onset in subjects in whom the sum of these factors reach a determined threshold. Based on this conceptualization, the environmental conditions, particularly those that are potentially modifiable, are becoming increasingly relevant. In this review, the current integrative model of the disease is discussed. In addition, we explore the role of cancer, autoimmunity and metabolic diseases as examples of novel, non-genetic and environmental factors. Together with the potential triggers or perpetuating pathogenic mechanisms along with new insights into potential lines of future research are provided. LINKED ARTICLES: This article is part of a themed issue on Neurochemistry in Japan. To view the other articles in this section visit http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/bph.v178.6/issuetoc.
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