Broad white matter impairment in multiple system atrophy. Human brain mapping Del Campo, N., Phillips, O., Ory-Magne, F., Brefel-Courbon, C., Galitzky, M., Thalamas, C., Narr, K. L., Joshi, S., Singh, M. K., Peran, P., Pavy-LeTraon, A., Rascol, O. 2020


Multiple system atrophy (MSA) is a rare neurodegenerative disorder characterized by the widespread aberrant accumulation of alpha-synuclein (alpha-syn). MSA differs from other synucleinopathies such as Parkinson's disease (PD) in that alpha-syn accumulates primarily in oligodendrocytes, the only source of white matter myelination in the brain. Previous MSA imaging studies have uncovered focal differences in white matter. Here, we sought to build on this work by taking a global perspective on whole brain white matter. In order to do this, in vivo structural imaging and diffusion magnetic resonance imaging were acquired on 26 MSA patients, 26 healthy controls, and 23 PD patients. A refined whole brain approach encompassing the major fiber tracts and the superficial white matter located at the boundary of the cortical mantle was applied. The primary observation was that MSA but not PD patients had whole brain deep and superficial white matter diffusivity abnormalities (p <.001). In addition, in MSA patients, these abnormalities were associated with motor (Unified MSA Rating Scale, Part II) and cognitive functions (Mini-Mental State Examination). The pervasive whole brain abnormalities we observe suggest that there is widespread white matter damage in MSA patients which mirrors the widespread aggregation of alpha-syn in oligodendrocytes. Importantly, whole brain white matter abnormalities were associated with clinical symptoms, suggesting that white matter impairment may be more central to MSA than previously thought.

View details for DOI 10.1002/hbm.25227

View details for PubMedID 33064319