The A5 noradrenergic group of the pons projects on the medulla and spinal cord and contributes to control of sympathetic activity and respiration. Because these functions are affected in multiple system atrophy (MSA), we sought to determine whether there was involvement of A5 neurons in this disorder. We counted tyrosine-hydroxylase (TH) immunoreactive neurons in the A5 area and locus ceruleus in the pons obtained from six patients with clinical and neuropathological diagnoses of MSA and six age-matched controls using stereological methods. There was a severe loss of A5 neurons in MSA (total cell number 3,215 ± 258 in controls and 321 ± 62 in MSA, P < 0.001). The severity of cell loss was comparable to that of locus ceruleus neurons in these cases. Our results indicate that A5 neurons are severely affected in MSA and this may contribute to some of the manifestations of this synucleinopathy.
- Glial cytoplasmic inclusions
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine
- Clinical Neurology
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience