Spinocerebellar ataxias

Handb Clin Neurol. 2018:155:143-174. doi: 10.1016/B978-0-444-64189-2.00010-X.


There are over 40 autosomal dominant spinocerebellar ataxias (SCAs) now identified. In this chapter we delineate the phenotypes of SCAs 1-44 and dentatorubral-pallidoluysian atrophy (DRPLA) and highlight the clinical and genetic features of the well characterised SCAs in detail in the main section of the chapter, along with their frequency and age at onset. We have included a section on the key phenotypic features of rare spinocerebellar ataxias and discuss rare and unusual presentations and genetic mechanisms of the ataxias and show differences between adult and paediatric presentations. We look at unusual mechanisms where knowledge is evolving in some dominant ataxias. For ease of reference we have tabulated historical aspects of the ataxias, major neurological diagnostic features, ataxias with predominant paediatric and infantile onset and list recognisable nerve conduction features. We comment on the anti-sense ataxia gene mechanisms and we discuss potential developments including exome sequencing and potential therapeutic options. A gene table listing all of the identified SCAs and DRPLA is also included with key references and gene locations and symbols with OMIM reference numbers for further reading.

Keywords: DRPLA; adult; ataxia; autosomal-dominant; cerebellar; pediatric; spinocerebellar; triplet repeat expansion.

Publication types

  • Historical Article
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Ataxins / genetics
  • Chromosome Aberrations*
  • Genotype
  • History, 19th Century
  • History, 20th Century
  • History, 21st Century
  • Humans
  • Mutation / genetics
  • Myoclonic Epilepsies, Progressive / etiology*
  • Myoclonic Epilepsies, Progressive / genetics
  • Myoclonic Epilepsies, Progressive / history
  • Spinocerebellar Ataxias / classification
  • Spinocerebellar Ataxias / complications*
  • Spinocerebellar Ataxias / genetics
  • Spinocerebellar Ataxias / history


  • Ataxins