Key words Betz cells
Multiple system atrophy
Pyramidal tract ¶degeneration
Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Abstract We investigated clinicopathologically the pyramidal signs, including spasticity, hyperreflexia, and Babinski’s sign, and the involvement of the pyramidal tract and primary motor cortex, in seven Japanese autopsy cases of multiple system atrophy (MSA). Pyramidal signs were observed in six (86%) of the seven autopsy cases. Hyperreflexia and Babinski’s sign were each evident in five patients, but spasticity was observed in only one patient. Loss of Betz cells and presence of glial cytoplasmic inclusions in the primary motor cortex were noticed in all seven cases. Astrocytosis in the fifth layer of the primary motor cortex was noticed in five cases, but its presence was not related to the duration of the disease. Involvement of the pyramidal tract in the spinal cord, particularly of the small myelinated fibers, was observed in all seven cases, but no involvement of the pyramidal tract in the midbrain was evident in any of the six cases in which this structure was examined. In MSA, pyramidal signs were shown to be present more frequently than believed before, and the clinicopathological correlation between pyramidal signs and involvement of the pyramidal tract was obvious. Constant involvement of Betz cells in MSA has not been reported. Our clinicopathological findings may also make a contribution to the understanding of the clinicopathological hallmarks of MSA.
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