Loss of A5 noradrenergic neurons in multiple system atrophy

Eduardo E. Benarroch, Ann M. Schmeichel, Phillip A. Low, Paola Sandroni, Joseph E. Parisi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


The A5 noradrenergic group of the pons projects on the medulla and spinal cord and contributes to control of sympathetic activity and respiration. Because these functions are affected in multiple system atrophy (MSA), we sought to determine whether there was involvement of A5 neurons in this disorder. We counted tyrosine-hydroxylase (TH) immunoreactive neurons in the A5 area and locus ceruleus in the pons obtained from six patients with clinical and neuropathological diagnoses of MSA and six age-matched controls using stereological methods. There was a severe loss of A5 neurons in MSA (total cell number 3,215 ± 258 in controls and 321 ± 62 in MSA, P < 0.001). The severity of cell loss was comparable to that of locus ceruleus neurons in these cases. Our results indicate that A5 neurons are severely affected in MSA and this may contribute to some of the manifestations of this synucleinopathy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)629-634
Number of pages6
JournalActa neuropathologica
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2008


  • Cardiorespiratory
  • Glial cytoplasmic inclusions
  • Norepinephrine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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