EMG responses to free fall in elderly subjects and akinetic rigid patients.
OBJECTIVES: The EMG startle response to free fall was studied in young and old normal subjects, patients with absent vestibular function, and patients with akinetic-rigid syndromes. The aim was to detect any derangement in this early phase of the "landing response" in patient groups with a tendency to fall. In normal subjects the characteristics of a voluntary muscle contraction (tibialis anterior) was also compared when evoked by a non-startling sound and by the free fall startle. METHODS: Subjects lay supine on a couch which was unexpectedly released into free fall. Latencies of multiple surface EMG recordings to the onset of free fall, detected by a head mounted linear accelerometer, were measured. RESULTS AND CONCLUSIONS: (1) EMG responses in younger normal subjects occurred at: sternomastoid 54 ms, abdominals 69 ms, quadriceps 78 ms, deltoid 80 ms, and tibialis anterior 85 ms. This pattern of muscle activation, which is not a simple rostrocaudal progression, may be temporally/spatially organised in the startle brainstem centres. (2) Voluntary tibialis EMG activation was earlier and stronger in response to a startling stimulus (fall) than in response to a non-startling stimulus (sound). This suggests that the startle response can be regarded as a reticular mechanism enhancing motor responsiveness. (3) Elderly subjects showed similar activation sequences but delayed by about 20 ms. This delay is more than can be accounted for by slowing of central and peripheral motor conduction, therefore suggesting age dependent delay in central processing. (4) Avestibular patients had normal latencies indicating that the free fall startle can be elicited by non-vestibular inputs. (5) Latencies in patients with idiopathic Parkinson's disease were normal whereas responses were earlier in patients with multiple system atrophy (MSA) and delayed or absent in patients with Steele-Richardson-Olszewski (SRO) syndrome. The findings in this patient group suggest: (1) lack of dopaminergic influence on the timing of the startle response, (2) concurrent cerebellar involvement in MSA may cause startle disinhibition, and (3) extensive reticular damage in SRO severely interferes with the response to free fall. (+info)
Affective symptoms in multiple system atrophy and Parkinson's disease: response to levodopa therapy.
The objective was to determine the extent to which psychiatric disturbances (especially mood disorders) generally considered poor prognostic factors, are present in patients with striatonigral (SND) type multiple system atrophy (MSA) compared with patients with idiopathic Parkinson's disease (IPD). The Hamilton depression scale (HAM-D), brief psychiatric rating scale (BPRS), and Unified Parkinson's disease rating scale (UPDRS) were administered to clinically probable non-demented patients with SND-type MSA and patients with IPD matched for age and motor disability, at baseline and after receiving levodopa. At baseline total HAM-D score was greater in patients with IPD. Overall, BPRS score did not differ between the two groups; however, patients with IPD scored higher on anxiety items of the BPRS, and patients with MSA had higher scores on the item indicating blunted affect. After levodopa, both groups improved significantly in UPDRS and HAM-D total scores (just significant for patients with MSA). Patients with IPD improved significantly in total BPRS score but patients with MSA did not. At baseline patients with IPD were more depressed and anxious than patients with MSA who, by contrast, showed blunted affect. After levodopa, depression and anxiety of patients with IPD improved significantly whereas the affective detachment of patients with MSA did not change. Major neuronal loss in the caudate and ventral striatum, which are part of the lateral orbitofrontal and limbic circuits, may be responsible for the blunted affect not responsive to levodopa therapy found in patients with MSA. (+info)
Multiple system atrophy.
Multiple system atrophy is a neurological disorder that has gone unrecognized for too long due to its involvement across multiple regions of the central nervous system. This disorder is finally being unveiled through increased reporting in the scientific literature. Further research will enhance our understanding of this disease and lead to more effective treatment regimens as well as an improved quality of life for patients with MSA. (+info)
The genetics of disorders with synuclein pathology and parkinsonism.
Despite being considered the archetypal non-genetic neurological disorder, genetic analysis of Parkinson's disease has shown that there are at least three genetic loci. Furthermore, these analyses have suggested that the phenotype of the pathogenic loci is wider than simple Parkinson's disease and may include Lewy body dementia and some forms of essential tremor. Identification of alpha-synuclein as the first of the loci involved in Parkinson's disease and the identification of this protein in pathological deposits in other disorders has led to the suggestion that it may share pathogenic mechanisms with multiple system atrophy, Alzheimer's disease and prion disease and that these mechanisms are related to a synuclein pathway to cell death. Finally, genetic analysis of the synuclein diseases and the tau diseases may indicate that this synuclein pathway is an alternative to the tau pathway to cell death. (+info)
Nocturnal decrease in vasopressin secretion into plasma in patients with multiple system atrophy.
To determine whether the nocturnal decrease in arginine vasopressin (AVP) secretion into the plasma, found in a patient with multiple system atrophy (MSA) reported previously, is a usual finding in MSA, the plasma AVP concentrations in 13 patients with MSA were measured every 4 hours during a 24 hour period. The plasma AVP concentrations in these patients showed significant daily variations and were the lowest during the night. This finding indicates that patients with MSA often exhibit nocturnal decrease in AVP secretion into the plasma. The results suggest the possibility that the system responsible for the daily variations in AVP secretion is involved in MSA. (+info)
Widespread alterations of alpha-synuclein in multiple system atrophy.
Glial cytoplasmic inclusions (GCI) are the hallmark of multiple system atrophy (MSA), a rare movement disorder frequently associated with autonomic dysfunction. In this study of 21 cases of MSA, GCI were consistently immunoreactive for alpha-synuclein and double-immunostained for ubiquitin and oligodendroglial markers, but not glial fibrillary acidic protein. No statistically significant difference was found in the density of GCI in various brain regions in the two forms of MSA, striatonigral degeneration (SND) and olivopontocerebellar atrophy (OPCA). Postmortem brain samples from 9 cases of MSA were fractionated according to solubility in buffer, Triton-X 100, sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS), and formic acid, and alpha-synuclein immunoreactivity was measured in Western blots. Total alpha-synuclein immunoreactivity was increased in MSA compared to controls, with no statistically significant difference between SND and OPCA. Most of the increase was due to alpha-synuclein in SDS fractions. In controls this fraction had little or no immunoreactivity. In 7 cases and 4 controls correlations were investigated between quantitative neuropathology and biochemical properties of alpha-synuclein. Surprisingly, the amount of SDS-soluble alpha-synuclein correlated poorly with the number of GCI in adjacent sections. Furthermore, areas with few or no GCI unexpectedly had abundant SDS-soluble alpha-synuclein. These findings provide evidence that modifications of alpha-synuclein in MSA may be more widespread than obvious histopathology. Moreover, these alterations may constitute a biochemical signature for the synucleinopathies. (+info)
Urinary dysfunction and orthostatic hypotension in multiple system atrophy: which is the more common and earlier manifestation?
OBJECTIVES: Urinary dysfunction and orthostatic hypotension are the prominent autonomic features in multiple system atrophy (MSA). A detailed questionnaire was given and autonomic function tests were performed in 121 patients with MSA concerning both urinary and cardiovascular systems. METHODS: Replies to the questionnaire on autonomic symptoms were obtained from 121 patients including three clinical variants; olivopontocerebellar atrophy (OPCA) type in 48, striatonigral degeneration (SND) type in 17, and Shy-Drager type in 56. Urodynamic studies comprised measurement of postmicturition residuals, EMG cystometry, and bethanechol injection. Cardiovascular tests included head up tilt test, measurement of supine plasma noradrenaline (norepinephrine,NA), measurement of R-R variability (CV R-R), and intravenous infusions of NA and isoproterenol. RESULTS: Urinary symptoms (96%) were found to be more common than orthostatic symptoms (43%) (p<0.01) in patients with MSA, particularly with OPCA (p<0.01) and SND (p<0.01) types. In 53 patients with both urinary and orthostatic symptoms, patients who had urinary symptoms first (48%) were more common than those who had orthostatic symptoms first (29%), and there were patients who developed both symptoms simultaneously (23%). Post-micturition residuals were noted in 74% of the patients. EMG cystometry showed detrusor hyperreflexia in 56%, low compliance in 31%, atonic curve in 5%, detrusor-sphincter dyssynergia in 45%, and neurogenic sphincter EMG in 74%. The cystometric curve tended to change from hyperreflexia to low compliance, then atonic curve in repeated tests. Bethanechol injection showed denervation supersensitivity of the bladder in 19%. Cardiovascular tests showed orthostatic hypotension below -30 mm Hg in 41%, low CV R-R below 1.5 in 57%, supine plasma NA below 100 pg/ml in 28%, and denervation supersensitivity of the vessels (alpha in 73%; beta2 in 60%) and of the heart (beta1 in 62%). CONCLUSION: It is likely that urinary dysfunction is more common and often an earlier manifestation than orthostatic hypotension in patients with MSA, although subclinical cardiovascular abnormalities appear in the early stage of the disease. The responsible sites seem to be central and peripheral for both dysfunctions. (+info)
Nuclear accumulation of truncated atrophin-1 fragments in a transgenic mouse model of DRPLA.
Dentatorubral and pallidoluysian atrophy (DRPLA) is a member of a family of progressive neurodegenerative diseases caused by polyglutamine repeat expansion. Transgenic mice expressing full-length human atrophin-1 with 65 consecutive glutamines exhibit ataxia, tremors, abnormal movements, seizures, and premature death. These mice accumulate atrophin-1 immunoreactivity and inclusion bodies in the nuclei of multiple populations of neurons. Subcellular fractionation revealed 120 kDa nuclear fragments of mutant atrophin-1, whose abundance increased with age and phenotypic severity. Brains of DRPLA patients contained apparently identical 120 kDa nuclear fragments. By contrast, mice overexpressing atrophin-1 with 26 glutamines were phenotypically normal and did not accumulate the 120 kDa fragments. We conclude that the evolution of neuropathology in DRPLA involves proteolytic processing of mutant atrophin-1 and nuclear accumulation of truncated fragments. (+info)