Early and extensive alterations of glial connexins, distal oligodendrogliopathy type demyelination, and nodal/paranodal pathology are characteristic of multiple system atrophy

Yuji Nishimura, Katsuhisa Masaki, Dai Matsuse, Hiroo Yamaguchi, Tatsunori Tanaka, Eriko Matsuo, Shotaro Hayashida, Mitsuru Watanabe, Takuya Matsushita, Shoko Sadashima, Naokazu Sasagasako, Ryo Yamasaki, Noriko Isobe, Toru Iwaki, Jun ichi Kira

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The pathological hallmark of multiple system atrophy (MSA) is aberrant accumulation of phosphorylated α-synuclein in oligodendrocytes, forming glial cytoplasmic inclusions (GCIs). Extensive demyelination occurs particularly in the olivopontocerebellar and striatonigral pathways, but its precise mechanism remains elusive. Glial connexins (Cxs), which form gap junction channels between astrocytes and oligodendrocytes, play critical roles in myelin maintenance, and have not been studied in MSA. Therefore, we immunohistochemically investigated glial Cx changes in the cerebellar afferent fibers in 15 autopsied patients with MSA. We classified demyelinating lesions into three stages based on Klüver–Barrera staining: early (Stage I), intermediate (Stage II), and late (Stage III) stages showing subtle, moderate, and severe myelin reduction, respectively. Myelin-associated glycoprotein, but not myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein, was preferentially decreased in Stage I, suggesting distal oligodendrogliopathy type demyelination. Accumulation of phosphorylated α-synuclein in oligodendrocytes was frequently seen in Stage I but less frequently observed in Stages II and III. Tubulin polymerization-promoting protein (TPPP/p25α)-positive oligodendrocytes were preserved in Stage I but successively decreased in Stages II and III. Even at Stage I, Cx32 was nearly absent from myelin, despite the relative preservation of other nodal proteins, such as neurofascin, claudin-11/oligodendrocyte-specific protein, and contactin-associated protein 1, which successively decreased in the later stages. Cx32 was re-distributed in the oligodendrocyte cytoplasm and co-localized with GCIs. Cx47 gradually decreased at the oligodendrocyte surface in a stage-dependent manner but was not co-localized with GCIs. Astrocytic Cx43 was down-regulated in Stage I but up-regulated in Stages II and III, reflecting astrogliosis. Cx43/Cx47 gap junctions significantly decreased from Stage I to III. Activated microglia/macrophages and T cells infiltrated in Stage I rather than Stages II and III. Therefore, early and extensive alterations of glial Cxs, particularly Cx32 loss, occur in MSA and may accelerate distal oligodendrogliopathy type demyelination and nodal/paranodal dysfunction through disruption of inter-glial communication.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere13131
JournalBrain Pathology
Volume33
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Neuroscience
  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Clinical Neurology

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