MSA Trust

Molecular Imaging of Synaptic Loss in Multiple System Atrophy (MSA)

Groundbreaking research into MSA – Can you help?

A team at the University of Exeter are working on a groundbreaking study into the synoptic loss in MSA and are actively looking for people with MSA to take part.

Patients with MSA are found to have a build-up of a protein, called alpha-synuclein, in several areas of their brain. This protein collects close to the brain cells, which provide support and insulation to nerve cells. The exact way that alpha-synuclein accumulation leads to the gradual breakdown of neurons, causing the symptoms of the disease, is still unclear. However, we know that even before these cells die there is a loss of synapses (the structure which allows brain cells to send messages to other brain cells and across the brain) and a decrease in the metabolism of glucose, which is used as a measure of brain activity. By use of Positron Emission Tomography (PET), it is possible to determine the loss of synapses and the decrease of glucose metabolism. In this study, we aim to use PET imaging specific for measuring synapses and glucose metabolism, to investigate their role in disease progression in people with MSA.

If you are interested in taking part, please email or call Holly Wright on 01392 722935 to find out more.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in the blogs published on these pages are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the MSA Trust.

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1 year ago

I’m taking part in this research study, having received a diagnosis of MSA-C in 2022, I feel that it’s something important and positive that I can do to help for the future. All the travel & hotel logistics are excellently organised and arranged by Holly at Exeter University to get me to Imperial College London for the research, so all the stress & hassle of getting there is done for me. It’s been a really interesting experience for me to participate in.

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