Extensive distribution of glial cytoplasmic inclusions in an autopsied case of multiple system atrophy with a prolonged 18-year clinical course

Authors

  • Kenta Masui,

    1. Department of Neuropathology, Neurological Institute, Graduate School of Medical Sciences, Kyushu University
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  • Yukako Nakata,

    1. Department of Neurology, Neuro-Muscular Center, National Omuta Hospital, Fukuoka, Japan
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  • Naoki Fujii,

    1. Department of Neurology, Neuro-Muscular Center, National Omuta Hospital, Fukuoka, Japan
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  • Toru Iwaki

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Neuropathology, Neurological Institute, Graduate School of Medical Sciences, Kyushu University
      Toru Iwaki, MD, PhD, Department of Neuropathology, Neurological Institute, Graduate School of Medical Sciences, Kyushu University, 3-1-1 Maidashi, Higashi-ku, Fukuoka 812-8582, Japan. Email: iwaki@np.med.kyushu-u.ac.jp
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Toru Iwaki, MD, PhD, Department of Neuropathology, Neurological Institute, Graduate School of Medical Sciences, Kyushu University, 3-1-1 Maidashi, Higashi-ku, Fukuoka 812-8582, Japan. Email: iwaki@np.med.kyushu-u.ac.jp

Abstract

We describe herein an autopsied case of multiple system atrophy (MSA) with prolonged clinical course of 18 years, and evaluate the extent of neurodegeneration and glial cytoplasmic inclusions (GCIs) in the entire brain of this rare case. A 64-year-old woman presented with typical neurological symptoms and imaging features of MSA. Thereafter, she became bedridden, and breathing was assisted through a tracheostomy for 12 years. She died at the age of 82 after 18 years from the initial symptom. Post mortem examination revealed severe neurodegeneration in the inferior olive, pontine nuclei, substantia nigra, locus ceruleus, putamen and cerebellum. Notably, phosphorylated α-synuclein (p-α-syn)-positive GCIs were found in these areas, but their number was very low. In contrast, the density of GCIs was much higher in such regions as the tectum/tegmentum of the brainstem, pyramidal tracts, neocortices and limbic system, which usually contain a small number of GCIs. Another constituent of GCIs, ubiquitin (Ub) and Ub-associated autophagy substrate p62, were also positive in some GCIs, and distribution of Ub/p62 immunoreactivity was proportionate to that of p-α-syn+ GCIs despite the very long duration of the disease. Furthermore, this case had complicated hypoxic encephalopathy, but p-α-syn+ GCIs were also found in the damaged white matter, indicating the contribution of α-syncleinopathy as well as hypoxic effect to the secondary myelin and axonal loss in the white matter. Together, this rare case suggests the contribution of the disease duration to the prevalence of GCIs, and the possible involvement of the limbic system in extensive-stage disease.

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