Which microscopic findings are characteristic of multiple system atrophy (MSA)?

Updated: Sep 24, 2018
  • Author: Stephen M Bloomfield, MD; Chief Editor: Selim R Benbadis, MD  more...
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Microscopic findings in patients with MSA are distinctive for the cytoplasmic inclusions in the oligodendroglial cells, as well as for neuronal loss, astrocytosis, and loss of myelin. These lesions are predominantly located in the substantia nigra, locus ceruleus, putamen, inferior olives, pontine nuclei, Purkinje cells, and intermediolateral columns of the spinal cord. The globus pallidus, caudate nucleus, corticospinal tracts, anterior horn cells of the cord, dentate nucleus, and vestibular nuclei are relatively spared.

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