Astrocyte (image) Columbia University Medical Center Caption New details about how motor neurons die in ALS have been uncovered by a new cell-culture system that combines spinal cord or brain cells from ALS patients with human motor neurons. The culture system shows that patient astrocytes (shown here with a blue-stained nucleus) release a toxin that kills motor neurons via a recently discovered process described as a "controlled cellular explosion." Credit Diane Re, Columbia University Medical Center Usage Restrictions Rights for use are granted in the context of this news story Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert system.