In vitro models of multiple system atrophy from primary cells to induced pluripotent stem cells

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Multiple system atrophy (MSA) is a rare neurodegenerative disease with a fatal outcome. Nowadays, only symptomatic treatment is available for MSA patients. The hallmarks of the disease are glial cytoplasmic inclusions (GCIs), proteinaceous aggregates mainly composed of alpha-synuclein, which accumulate in oligodendrocytes. However, despite the extensive research efforts, little is known about the pathogenesis of MSA. Early myelin dysfunction and alpha-synuclein deposition are thought to play a major role, but the origin of the aggregates and the causes of misfolding are obscure. One of the reasons for this is the lack of a reliable model of the disease. Recently, the development of induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) technology opened up the possibility of elucidating disease mechanisms in neurodegenerative diseases including MSA. Patient specific iPSC can be differentiated in glia and neurons, the cells involved in MSA, providing a useful human disease model. Here, we firstly review the progress made in MSA modelling with primary cell cultures. Subsequently, we focus on the first iPSC-based model of MSA, which showed that alpha-synuclein is expressed in oligodendrocyte progenitors, whereas its production decreases in mature oligodendrocytes. We then highlight the opportunities offered by iPSC in studying disease mechanisms and providing innovative models for testing therapeutic strategies, and we discuss the challenges connected with this technique.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2536-2546
JournalJournal of Cellular and Molecular Medicine
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • In vitro models
  • Induced pluripotent stem cells
  • Multiple system atrophy
  • Neurodegeneration
  • Oligodendrocytes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Cell Biology


Dive into the research topics of 'In vitro models of multiple system atrophy from primary cells to induced pluripotent stem cells'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this