A quantitative study of the pathological changes in white matter in multiple system atrophy

Richard A. Armstrong*, Nigel J. Cairns, Peter L. Lantos

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The density and spatial distribution of the vacuoles, glial cell nuclei and glial cytoplasmic inclusions (GCI) were studied in the white matter of various cortical and subcortical areas in 10 cases of multiple system atrophy (MSA). Vacuolation was more prevalent in subcortical than cortical areas and especially in the central tegmental tract. Glial cell nuclei widespread in all areas of the white matter studied; overall densities of glial cell nuclei being significantly greater in the central tegmental tract and frontal cortex compared with areas of the pons. The GCI were present most consistently in the external and internal capsules, the central tegmental tract and the white matter of the cerebellar cortex. The density of the vacuoles was greater in the MSA brains than in the control brains but glial cell density was similar in both groups. In the majority of areas, the pathological changes were distributed across the white matter randomly, uniformly, or in large diffuse clusters. In most areas, there were no spatial correlations between the vacuoles, glial cell nuclei and GCI. These results suggest: (i) there is significant degeneration of the white matter in MSA characterized by vacuolation and GCI; (ii) the central tegmental tract is affected significantly more than the cortical tracts; (iii) pathological changes are diffusely rather than topographically distributed across the white matter; and (iv) the development of the vacuoles and GCI appear to be unrelated phenomena. © 2007 Japanese Society of Neuropathology.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)221-227
Number of pages7
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2007


  • glial cell nuclei
  • glial cytoplasmic inclusion
  • multiple system atrophy
  • vacuolation
  • white matter


Dive into the research topics of 'A quantitative study of the pathological changes in white matter in multiple system atrophy'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this