Spinal muscular atrophy

Nat Rev Dis Primers. 2022 Aug 4;8(1):52. doi: 10.1038/s41572-022-00380-8.


Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is a neurodegenerative disorder caused by mutations in SMN1 (encoding survival motor neuron protein (SMN)). Reduced expression of SMN leads to loss of α-motor neurons, severe muscle weakness and often early death. Standard-of-care recommendations for multidisciplinary supportive care of SMA were established in the past few decades. However, improved understanding of the pathogenetic mechanisms of SMA has led to the development of different therapeutic approaches. Three treatments that increase SMN expression by distinct molecular mechanisms, administration routes and tissue biodistributions have received regulatory approval with others in clinical development. The advent of the new therapies is redefining standards of care as in many countries most patients are treated with one of the new therapies, leading to the identification of emerging new phenotypes of SMA and a renewed characterization of demographics owing to improved patient survival.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Motor Neurons / metabolism
  • Motor Neurons / pathology
  • Muscular Atrophy, Spinal* / diagnosis
  • Muscular Atrophy, Spinal* / genetics
  • Muscular Atrophy, Spinal* / therapy
  • Mutation
  • Phenotype