Spinocerebellar ataxia: an update

J Neurol. 2019 Feb;266(2):533-544. doi: 10.1007/s00415-018-9076-4. Epub 2018 Oct 3.


Spinocerebellar ataxia (SCA) is a heterogeneous group of neurodegenerative ataxic disorders with autosomal dominant inheritance. We aim to provide an update on the recent clinical and scientific progresses in SCA where numerous novel genes have been identified with next-generation sequencing techniques. The main disease mechanisms of these SCAs include toxic RNA gain-of-function, mitochondrial dysfunction, channelopathies, autophagy and transcription dysregulation. Recent studies have also demonstrated the importance of DNA repair pathways in modifying SCA with CAG expansions. In addition, we summarise the latest technological advances in detecting known and novel repeat expansion in SCA. Finally, we discuss the roles of antisense oligonucleotides and RNA-based therapy as potential treatments.

Keywords: Molecular diagnosis; Next-generation sequencing; Spinocerebellar ataxia.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Spinocerebellar Ataxias / diagnosis*
  • Spinocerebellar Ataxias / genetics
  • Spinocerebellar Ataxias / metabolism
  • Spinocerebellar Ataxias / therapy