Recent advances in neuropathology, biomarkers and therapeutic approach of multiple system atrophy.
Koga Shunsuke,Dickson Dennis W
Journal of neurology, neurosurgery, and psychiatry
Multiple system atrophy (MSA) is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder characterised by a variable combination of autonomic failure, levodopa-unresponsive parkinsonism, cerebellar ataxia and pyramidal symptoms. The pathological hallmark is the oligodendrocytic glial cytoplasmic inclusion (GCI) consisting of α-synuclein; therefore, MSA is included in the category of α-synucleinopathies. MSA has been divided into two clinicopathological subtypes: MSA with predominant parkinsonism and MSA with predominant cerebellar ataxia, which generally correlate with striatonigral degeneration and olivopontocerebellar atrophy, respectively. It is increasingly recognised, however, that clinical and pathological features of MSA are broader than previously considered.In this review, we aim to describe recent advances in neuropathology of MSA from a review of the literature and from information derived from review of nearly 200 definite MSA cases in the Mayo Clinic Brain Bank. In light of these new neuropathological findings, GCIs and neuronal cytoplasmic inclusions play an important role in clinicopathological correlates of MSA. We also focus on clinical diagnostic accuracy and differential diagnosis of MSA as well as candidate biomarkers. We also review some controversial topics in MSA. Cognitive impairment, which has been a non-supporting feature of MSA, is considered from both clinical and pathological perspectives. The cellular origin of α-synuclein in GCI and a 'prion hypothesis' are discussed. Finally, completed and ongoing clinical trials targeting disease modification, including immunotherapy, are summarised.
Diagnosis of multiple system atrophy.
Palma Jose-Alberto,Norcliffe-Kaufmann Lucy,Kaufmann Horacio
Autonomic neuroscience : basic & clinical
Multiple system atrophy (MSA) may be difficult to distinguish clinically from other disorders, particularly in the early stages of the disease. An autonomic-only presentation can be indistinguishable from pure autonomic failure. Patients presenting with parkinsonism may be misdiagnosed as having Parkinson disease. Patients presenting with the cerebellar phenotype of MSA can mimic other adult-onset ataxias due to alcohol, chemotherapeutic agents, lead, lithium, and toluene, or vitamin E deficiency, as well as paraneoplastic, autoimmune, or genetic ataxias. A careful medical history and meticulous neurological examination remain the cornerstone for the accurate diagnosis of MSA. Ancillary investigations are helpful to support the diagnosis, rule out potential mimics, and define therapeutic strategies. This review summarizes diagnostic investigations useful in the differential diagnosis of patients with suspected MSA. Currently used techniques include structural and functional brain imaging, cardiac sympathetic imaging, cardiovascular autonomic testing, olfactory testing, sleep study, urological evaluation, and dysphagia and cognitive assessments. Despite advances in the diagnostic tools for MSA in recent years and the availability of consensus criteria for clinical diagnosis, the diagnostic accuracy of MSA remains sub-optimal. As other diagnostic tools emerge, including skin biopsy, retinal biomarkers, blood and cerebrospinal fluid biomarkers, and advanced genetic testing, a more accurate and earlier recognition of MSA should be possible, even in the prodromal stages. This has important implications as misdiagnosis can result in inappropriate treatment, patient and family distress, and erroneous eligibility for clinical trials of disease-modifying drugs.
Simple linear brainstem MRI measurements in the differential diagnosis of progressive supranuclear palsy from the parkinsonian variant of multiple system atrophy.
Constantinides Vasilios C,Paraskevas George P,Stamboulis Eleftherios,Kapaki Elisabeth
Neurological sciences : official journal of the Italian Neurological Society and of the Italian Society of Clinical Neurophysiology
Differential diagnosis of progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP) and the parkinsonian variant of multiple system atrophy (MSA-P) from Parkinson's disease (PD) can be difficult, particularly in atypical cases or early in the disease course. The Magnetic Resonance Parkinsonism Index (MRPI) utilizes linear and surface (planimetry) measurements and has been proposed as a dual MRI biomarker, with high values indicative of PSP and low values of MSA. The aim of this study was to examine the utility of simple linear MRI brainstem measurements, without the use of MRI planimetry, in the diagnosis of patients with Parkinsonism and compare them to the MRPI. A total of 51 patients (PSP: 24, MSA-P: 9, PD: 18) and 15 healthy controls were included. Simple linear MRI distances of brainstem structures were measured. These included midbrain and pons diameters as well as superior cerebellar peduncle (SCP) and middle cerebellar peduncle (MCP) widths. All relevant indices, including ratios and products, were also calculated. The SCP by midbrain product (SCP × midbrain) provided improved sensitivity (100 vs. 91%) and identical specificity (98%) for the diagnosis of PSP, compared to the MRPI. Neither the MRPI nor any of the linear measurements were able to discriminate MSA-P from PD. The SCP by midbrain product is a novel, potent MRI biomarker for PSP.
Abnormal pain perception in patients with Multiple System Atrophy.
Ory-Magne F,Pellaprat J,Harroch E,Galitzsky M,Rousseau V,Pavy-Le Traon A,Rascol O,Gerdelat A,Brefel-Courbon C
Parkinsonism & related disorders
INTRODUCTION:Patients with Parkinson's disease or Multiple System Atrophy frequently experience painful sensations. The few studies investigating pain mechanisms in Multiple System Atrophy patients have reported contradictory results. In our study, we compared pain thresholds in Multiple System Atrophy and Parkinson's disease patients and healthy controls and evaluated the effect of l-DOPA on pain thresholds. METHODS:We assessed subjective and objective pain thresholds (using a thermotest and RIII reflex), and pain tolerance in OFF and ON conditions, clinical pain, motor and psychological evaluation. RESULTS:Pain was reported in 78.6% of Multiple System Atrophy patients and in 37.5% of Parkinson's disease patients. In the OFF condition, subjective and objective pain thresholds were significantly lower in Multiple System Atrophy patients than in healthy controls (43.8 °C ± 1.3 vs 45.7 °C ± 0.8; p = 0.0005 and 7.4 mA ± 3.8 vs 13.7 mA ± 2.8; p = 0.002, respectively). They were also significantly reduced in Multiple System Atrophy compared to Parkinson's disease patients. No significant difference was found in pain tolerance for the 3 groups and in the effect of l-DOPA on pain thresholds in Multiple System Atrophy and Parkinson's disease patients. In the ON condition, pain tolerance tended to be reduced in Multiple System Atrophy versus Parkinson's disease patients (p = 0.05). CONCLUSION:Multiple System Atrophy patients had an increase in pain perception compared to Parkinson's disease patients and healthy controls. The l-DOPA effect was similar for pain thresholds in Multiple System Atrophy and Parkinson's disease patients, but tended to worsen pain tolerance in Multiple System Atrophy.
Do selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors improve survival in multiple system atrophy?
Coon Elizabeth A,Ahlskog J Eric,Silber Michael H,Fealey Robert D,Benarroch Eduardo E,Sandroni Paola,Mandrekar Jay N,Low Phillip A,Singer Wolfgang
Parkinsonism & related disorders
INTRODUCTION:Loss of brainstem serotonergic neurons in MSA patients is implicated in respiratory dysfunction including stridor and may increase the risk of sudden death. Augmenting serotonergic transmission through selective serotonergic reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) has been proposed to improve stridor and prolong survival in multiple system atrophy (MSA). We sought to determine whether MSA patients on an SSRI during their disease course have improved survival compared to those not on an SSRI. METHODS:Review of all MSA patients from 1998 to 2012 at Mayo Clinic, Rochester who completed autonomic function testing. Use of SSRI medications was obtained from patient-provided medication lists in the electronic medical record. Clinical symptoms were collected from patient histories; the presence of stridor was obtained from clinical histories and polysomnogram. Surviving patients were called to assess for stridor and SSRI use. RESULTS:Of 685 MSA patients, 132 (19%) were on an SSRI. Median time from symptom onset to death was 7.5 years with no difference based on SSRI use (p = .957). Rates of stridor were similar in SSRI users and non-users based on patient report and polysomnography (p = .494 and p = .181, respectively). SSRI use was associated with parkinsonism (p = .027) and falls (p = .002). Stridor was similar in SSRI users and those not on an SSRI. CONCLUSIONS:There was no difference in survival in MSA patients on an SSRI. However, SSRI use was associated with higher rates of parkinsonism and falls.
Extensive Delayed Brain Atrophy after Resuscitation in a Patient with Multiple System Atrophy.
Nisitani Sazuku,Miyoshi Hirofumi,Katsuoka Yoji
Frontiers in neurology
Brain magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of multiple system atrophy (MSA) shows atrophy in the cerebrum, cerebellum, and brainstem. It is also characterized by specific patterns such as hyperintense lateral putaminal rim. MRI of hypoxic encephalopathy shows atrophy mainly in the gray matter, and laminar necrosis in the cerebral cortex is often observed. Here, we report an MSA patient damaged by hypoxic insult and resuscitated after 18-min cardiac arrest. The brain of the patient developed severe atrophy within a period of 10 months. Furthermore, brain atrophy was observed in the white and gray matter, which preserved the brain atrophy pattern in MSA. We assume that alpha-synuclein oligomerization is involved in the neural cell death and brain atrophy. It might have caused further neural cell death in the brain damaged by hypoxia. Alpha-synuclein, which is involved in the pathogenesis of MSA, is suggested to be a prion. Misfolded alpha-synuclein may propagate through cell-to-cell transmission and cause wide pathological change, visible as atrophied MR imaging.