Two New Families and a Literature Review of ELOVL4-Associated Spinocerebellar Ataxia Type 34

Cerebellum. 2024 Feb;23(1):268-277. doi: 10.1007/s12311-023-01522-8. Epub 2023 Jan 25.


Autosomal dominant variants in ELOVL4 cause spinocerebellar ataxia type 34 (SCA34; ATX-ELOVL4), classically associated with a skin condition known as erythrokeratoderma. Here, we report a large Italian-Maltese-Australian family with spinocerebellar ataxia. Notably, while there were dermatological manifestations (eczema), erythrokeratoderma was not present. Using a next-generation sequencing panel, we identified a previously reported ELOVL4 variant, NM_022726.4: c.698C > T p.(Thr233Met). The variant was initially classified as a variant of uncertain significance; however, through segregation studies, we reclassified the variant as likely pathogenic. We next identified an individual from another family (Algerian-Maltese-Australian) with the same ELOVL4 variant with spinocerebellar ataxia but without dermatological manifestations. We subsequently performed the first dedicated literature review of ELOVL4-associated ataxia to gain further insights into genotype-phenotype relationships. We identified a total of 60 reported cases of SCA34 to date. The majority had gait ataxia (88.3%), limb ataxia (76.7%), dysarthria (63.3%), and nystagmus (58.3%). Of note, skin lesions related to erythrokeratoderma were seen in a minority of cases (33.3%). Other extracerebellar manifestations included pyramidal tract signs, autonomic disturbances, retinitis pigmentosa, and cognitive impairment. For brain MRI data, cerebellar atrophy was seen in all cases (100%), whereas the hot cross bun sign (typically associated with multiple system atrophy type C) was seen in 32.4% of cases. Our family study and literature review highlight the variable phenotypic spectrum of SCA34. Importantly, it shows that erythrokeratoderma is not found in most cases and that, while a dermatological assessment may be helpful in these patients, SCA34 diagnosis should be considered irrespective of dermatological manifestations.

Keywords: ELOVL4; Erythrokeratoderma; Medical genetics; Next-generation sequencing; Spinocerebellar ataxia type 34 (SCA34).

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Ataxia / genetics
  • Cerebellar Ataxia*
  • Eye Proteins / genetics
  • Humans
  • Membrane Proteins / genetics
  • Skin Diseases, Genetic*
  • Spinocerebellar Ataxias* / diagnostic imaging
  • Spinocerebellar Ataxias* / genetics


  • ELOVL4 protein, human
  • Eye Proteins
  • Membrane Proteins

Supplementary concepts

  • Erythrokeratodermia with ataxia