Postmortem examination of a patient with pure autonomic failure showed loss of intermediolateral column cells and of sympathetic ganglionic neurons; there were Lewy bodies in sympathetic neurons. No neuronal loss or Lewy bodies were seen in pigmented brainstem nuclei. This case indicates that pure autonomic failure can occur in the absence of presymptomatic Parkinson's disease. Furthermore, it supports the view that in pure autonomic failure the lesion is more distal than in autonomic failure associated with multiple system atrophy.
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