Increased catabolic state in spinocerebellar ataxia type 1 patients

Cerebellum. 2014 Aug;13(4):440-6. doi: 10.1007/s12311-014-0555-6.


Autosomal dominant spinocerebellar ataxia type 1 (SCA1) is a genetic movement disorder with neuronal loss in the cerebellum, brainstem, and other cerebral regions. The course of SCA1 is accompanied with progressive weight loss and amyotrophia-the causes for that remain, however, unclear. We tested the hypothesis that an imbalance between energy intake and expenditure contributes to weight loss in SCA1 patients. Anthropometric measures, energy intake (food records), and resting (calorimetry) and free-living (accelerometry) energy expenditure were determined in 10 patients with genetically proven SCA1 and 10 healthy controls closely matched for age, sex, and body composition. At rest, energy expenditure per kilogram fat-free mass was 22 % and fat oxidation rate 28 % higher in patients vs. controls indicating an increased catabolic state. Under free-living conditions, total energy expenditure and daily step counts were significantly lower in patients vs. controls. However, most patients were able to maintain energy intake and expenditure in a balanced state. Resting energy expenditure, fat oxidation, and activity energy expenditure per step count are higher, whereas 24-h total energy expenditure is lower in SCA1 patients vs. healthy controls. An altered autonomic nervous system activity, gait ataxia, and a decreased physical activity might contribute to this outcome.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Accelerometry
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Anthropometry
  • Blood Glucose
  • Calorimetry
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Energy Intake / physiology*
  • Energy Metabolism / physiology*
  • Fasting
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Insulin / blood
  • Insulin Resistance
  • Male
  • Metabolic Diseases / blood
  • Metabolic Diseases / diagnosis
  • Metabolic Diseases / etiology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Spinocerebellar Ataxias / blood
  • Spinocerebellar Ataxias / complications*
  • Spinocerebellar Ataxias / genetics
  • Statistics, Nonparametric
  • Young Adult


  • Blood Glucose
  • Insulin