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Bispebjerg Hospital - a part of Copenhagen University Hospital
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Quantitative Cellular Changes in the Thalamus of Patients with Multiple System Atrophy

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  1. A stereological study of the mediodorsal thalamic nucleus in Down syndrome

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  3. TDP-43-specific Autoantibody Decline in Patients With Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis

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  4. Is There a Correlation Between the Number of Brain Cells and IQ?

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The thalamus is a brain region consisting of anatomical and functional connections between various spinal, subcortical, and cortical regions, which has a putative role in the clinical manifestation of Multiple System Atrophy (MSA). Previous stereological studies have reported significant anatomical alterations in diverse brain regions of MSA patients, including the cerebral cortex, basal ganglia and white matter, but no quantitative studies have examined the thalamus. To establish the extent of thalamic involvement, we applied stereological methods to estimate the total number of neurons and glial cells (oligodendrocytes, astrocytes and microglia) as well as the volume in two thalamic sub-regions, the mediodorsal nucleus (MDT) and the anterior principal nucleus (APn), in brains from ten MSA patients and 11 healthy control subjects. Compared to healthy controls, MSA patients had significantly fewer neurons (26%) in the MDT, but not the APn. We also found significantly more astrocytes (32%) and microglia (54%) in the MDT, with no such changes in the APn. Finally, we saw no group differences in the total number of oligodendrocytes. Our findings show a region-specific loss of thalamic neurons that occurs without loss of oligodendrocytes, whereas thalamic microgliosis seems to occur alongside astrogliosis. These pathological changes in the thalamus may contribute to the cognitive impairment seen in most patients with MSA.

Original languageEnglish
JournalNeuroscience
Volume459
Pages (from-to)142-152
Number of pages11
ISSN0306-4522
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2021

    Research areas

  • glial cells, multiple system atrophy, neurons, stereology, thalamus

ID: 64277179