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Am J Pathol. 2005 Mar;166(3):869-76.

Oxidative stress in transgenic mice with oligodendroglial alpha-synuclein overexpression replicates the characteristic neuropathology of multiple system atrophy.

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  • 1Clinical Department of Neurology, Innsbruck Medical University, Anichstrasse 35 A-6020, Innsbruck, Austria.


Multiple system atrophy (MSA) is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder characterized by parkinsonism unresponsive to dopaminergic therapy, cerebellar ataxia, and dysautonomia. Neuropathology shows a characteristic neuronal multisystem degeneration that is associated with widespread oligodendroglial alpha-synuclein (alpha-SYN) inclusions. Presently no animal model completely replicates the specific neuropathology of MSA. Here we investigated the behavioral and pathological features resulting from oligodendroglial alpha-SYN overexpression in transgenic mice exposed to mitochondrial inhibition by 3-nitropropionic acid. In transgenic mice 3-nitropropionic acid induced or augmented motor deficits that were associated with MSA-like pathology including striatonigral degeneration and olivopontocerebellar atrophy. Widespread astrogliosis and microglial activation were also observed in the presence of alpha-SYN in oligodendrocytes. Our results indicate that combined mitochondrial inhibition and overexpression of oligodendroglial alpha-SYN generates a novel model of MSA that may be useful for evaluating both pathogenesis and treatment strategies.

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