Format

Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Brain. 2008 Mar;131(Pt 3):642-50. Epub 2007 Dec 13.

Axonal alpha-synuclein aggregates herald centripetal degeneration of cardiac sympathetic nerve in Parkinson's disease.

Author information

1
Department of Neurology, Kanto Central Hospital, 6-25-1 Kami-Yoga, Setagaya-ku, 158-8531 Tokyo, Japan.. orimo@kanto-ctr-hsp.com

Abstract

Degeneration of the cardiac sympathetic nerve occurs in both Parkinson's disease (PD) and dementia with Lewy bodies and begins early in the disease progression of PD, accounting for reduced cardiac uptake of meta-iodobenzylguanidine even in the early stages of Lewy body disease (LBD). We previously demonstrated that degeneration of the distal axons of the cardiac sympathetic nerve precedes loss of their mother neurons in the paravertebral sympathetic ganglia, suggesting distal dominant degeneration of the cardiac sympathetic nerve in PD. Because alpha-synuclein is one of the key molecules in the pathogenesis of this disease, we further investigated how alpha-synuclein aggregates are involved in this distal-dominant degeneration. Both cardiac tissues and paravertebral sympathetic ganglia were obtained for comparison from 20 patients with incidental Lewy body disease (ILBD), 10 with PD, 20 with multiple system atrophy (MSA) and 10 control subjects. Immunohistochemical analysis was performed using antibodies against tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) as a marker for sympathetic nerves, phosphorylated neurofilament as a marker for axons and phosphorylated alpha-synuclein for pathological deposits. We found that (i) alpha-synuclein aggregates in the epicardial nerve fascicles, namely the distal axons of the cardiac sympathetic nerve, were much more abundant in ILBD with preserved TH-ir axons than in this disease with decreased TH-ir axons and PD; (ii) alpha-synuclein aggregates in the epicardial nerve fascicles were closely related to the disappearance of TH-ir axons; (iii) in ILBD with preserved TH-ir axons, alpha-synuclein aggregates were consistently more abundant in the epicardial nerve fascicles than in the paravertebral sympathetic ganglia; (iv) this distal-dominant accumulation of alpha-synuclein aggregates was reversed in ILBD with decreased TH-ir axons and PD, which both showed fewer of these axons but more abundant alpha-synuclein aggregates in the paravertebral sympathetic ganglia and (v) MSA was completely different from ILBD and PD based on the preservation of TH-ir axons and the scarcity of alpha-synuclein aggregates in either the cardiac tissues or the paravertebral sympathetic ganglia. These findings indicate that accumulation of alpha-synuclein aggregates in the distal axons of the cardiac sympathetic nervous system precedes that of neuronal somata or neurites in the paravertebral sympathetic ganglia and that heralds centripetal degeneration of the cardiac sympathetic nerve in PD, which sharply contrasts with slight changes in MSA. This chronological and dynamic relationship between alpha-synuclein aggregates and distal-dominant degeneration of the cardiac sympathetic nervous system may represent the pathological mechanism underlying a common degenerative process in PD.

PMID:
18079166
DOI:
10.1093/brain/awm302
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

0 comments
How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Silverchair Information Systems
    Loading ...
    Support Center