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Multiple System Atrophy (MSA)

Causes of Multiple System Atrophy (MSA)

The causes of multiple system atrophy (MSA) are unknown but lead to damage of brain and spinal cord cells in areas that control both movement and autonomic functions. We now know that oligodendrocytes, not the neurons, are the first brain cells that become sick in MSA. Doctors suspect a protein known as alpha-synuclein may interfere with neurotransmitters, chemicals in the central nervous system that relay commands for movement between nerve cells and muscles. An association is now reported with certain variation of the DNA at the SNCA gene locus and the risk of developing MSA.