Co-localization of Myelin and Microglial-like Cells in Cerebellar Tissue of Multiple System Atrophy Patients
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Myelin is an insulating sheath that coats individual axons and increases the rate of action potential conduction. Myelin degradation, known as demyelination, plays a substantial role in autoimmune diseases affecting the nervous system. Microglial cells, the resident immune cells of the brain, are responsible for immune defenses within the. central nervous system. In some diseases, microglia can contribute to neurodegeneration via phagocytosis. In multiple system atrophy (MSA), a neurodegenerative disease that causes symptoms such as autonomic nervous system dysfunction and cerebellar ataxia, rapid neurodegeneration and demyelination take place. The cause of these symptoms and the overall progression of the disease are not well understood. We performed doublelabel immunohistochemistry of myelin and microglial-like cells in order to characterize the nature of multiple system atrophy and the relationship between myelin and microglial-like cells in the cerebellum of MSA patients. We hypothesized that myelin and microglial-like cells would be co-localized in MSA patients. We also hypothesized that levels of myelin would be depressed and levels of microglia-like cells would be elevated in cerebellar tissue of these patients. As predicted, we found obvious demyelination, high levels of microglial-like cells, and a co-localization of microgliallike cells and myelin in cerebellar tissue of MSA patients. These findings suggest there is a correlation between levels of demyelination and the presence of microglial-like cells in cerebellar brain tissue of MSA patients. Further research into the relationship between demyelination apd microglia may lead to a better understanding of the role of microglia in the progression of MSA. Moreover, further studies may inform the development of targeted treatments for multiple system atrophy.