There's no known cause for brain changes in multiple system atrophy (MSA). Some researchers are studying whether there's an inherited component or environmental toxin involved in the disease process, but there's no substantial evidence to support these theories.
MSA is associated with deterioration and shrinkage (atrophy) of portions of your brain (cerebellum, basal ganglia and brainstem) that regulate internal body functions, digestion and motor control.
Evaluation under a microscope of damaged brain tissue of people with MSA reveals nerve cells (neurons) that contain an abnormal amount of a protein called alpha-synuclein. Some research suggests that this protein may be overexpressed in multiple system atrophy.
May. 20, 2014
- Daroff RB, et al. Bradley's Neurology in Clinical Practice. 6th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2012. https://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed March 1, 2014.
- Ubhi K, et al. Multiple system atrophy: A clinical and neuropathological perspective. Trends in Neurosciences. 2011;34:581.
- Wenning GK, et al. The natural history of multiple system atrophy: A prospective European cohort study. The Lancet Neurology. 2013;12:264.
- Multiple system atrophy fact sheet. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/msa/detail_msa.htm. Accessed March 1, 2014.
- Ferri FF. Ferri's Clinical Advisor 2014: 5 Books in 1. Philadelphia, Pa.: Mosby Elsevier; 2014. https://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed March 1, 2014.
- Factor SA, et al. Multiple system atrophy: Prognosis and treatment. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed March 4, 2014.
- FDA approves Northera to treat neurogenic orthostatic hypotension. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. http://www.fda.gov/newsevents/newsroom/pressannouncements/ucm386311.htm. Accessed March 11, 2014.
- Sandroni P (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. March 11, 2014.
You Are ... The Campaign for Mayo Clinic
Mayo Clinic is a not-for-profit organization. Make a difference today.