Clinical and molecular studies of 73 Italian families with autosomal dominant cerebellar ataxia type I: SCA1 and SCA2 are the most common genotypes

J Neurol. 1999 May;246(5):389-93. doi: 10.1007/s004150050369.


We clinically and genetically evaluated 73 Italian families with autosomal dominant cerebellar ataxia (ADCA) type I. Spinocerebellar ataxia (SCA) type 1 was the most common genotype (SCA1), accounting for 41% of cases (30 families), SCA2 was slightly less frequent (29%, 21 families), and the remaining families were negative for the SCA1, SCA2, and SCA3 mutations. Among the positively genotyped families, SCA1 was found most frequently in families from northern Italy (50%), while SCA2 was the most common mutation in families from the southern part of the country (56%). Slow saccades and decreased deep tendon reflexes were observed significantly more frequently in SCA2 patients, while increased deep tendon reflexes and nystagmus were more common in SCA1. In SCA1 and SCA2 families there was a significant inverse correlation between expansion size and age at onset. Analysis of triplet repeat numbers in parent-offspring pairs showed greater meiotic instability, which was associated with an earlier onset of the disease in SCA2 families than in SCA1 families.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cerebellar Ataxia / complications
  • Cerebellar Ataxia / genetics*
  • Cerebellar Ataxia / physiopathology*
  • Gene Frequency
  • Genes, Dominant*
  • Genotype
  • Humans
  • Italy
  • Meiosis / genetics
  • Middle Aged
  • Mutation / genetics
  • Nystagmus, Pathologic / etiology
  • Reflex, Stretch / physiology
  • Saccades / physiology
  • Trinucleotide Repeat Expansion / physiology