Spinocerebellar ataxia type 31: A clinical and radiological literature review

J Neurol Sci. 2023 Jan 15:444:120527. doi: 10.1016/j.jns.2022.120527. Epub 2022 Dec 16.


Spinocerebellar ataxia type 31 (SCA31) is an autosomal dominant disease, classified amongst pure cerebellar ataxias (ADCA type 3). While SCA31 is the third most prevalent autosomal dominant ataxia in Japan, it is extremely rare in other countries. A literature review was conducted on PubMed, where we included all case reports and studies describing the clinical presentation of original SCA31 cases. The clinical and radiological features of 374 patients issued from 25 studies were collected. This review revealed that the average age of onset was 59.1 ± 3.3 years, with symptoms of slowly progressing ataxia and dysarthria. Other common clinical features were oculomotor dysfunction (38.8%), dysphagia (22.1%), hypoacousia (23.3%), vibratory hypoesthesia (24.3%), and dysreflexia (41.6%). Unfrequently, abnormal movements (7.4%), extrapyramidal symptoms (4.5%) and cognitive impairment (6.9%) may be observed. Upon radiological examination, clinicians can expect a high prevalence of cerebellar atrophy (78.7%), occasionally accompanied by brainstem (9.1%) and cortical (9.1%) atrophy. Although SCA31 is described as a slowly progressive pure cerebellar syndrome characterized by cerebellar signs such as ataxia, dysarthria and oculomotor dysfunction, this study evaluated a high prevalence of extracerebellar manifestations. Extracerebellar signs were observed in 52.5% of patients, primarily consisting of dysreflexia, vibratory hypoesthesia and hypoacousia. Nonetheless, we must consider the old age and longstanding disease course of patients as a confounding factor for extracerebellar sign development, as some may not be directly attributable to SCA31. Clinicians should consider SCA31 in patients with a hereditary, pure cerebellar syndrome and in patients with extracerebellar signs.

Keywords: Ataxias; Cerebellum; Neurodegeneration; Neurogenetics; SCA31; Spinocerebellar ataxia type 31.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Atrophy / complications
  • Cerebellar Ataxia* / complications
  • Dysarthria / complications
  • Humans
  • Hypesthesia
  • Middle Aged
  • Spinocerebellar Ataxias* / complications
  • Spinocerebellar Ataxias* / diagnostic imaging
  • Spinocerebellar Ataxias* / genetics

Supplementary concepts

  • Spinocerebellar Ataxia 31