A multimodal electrophysiological study was performed on 41 patients from 24 families with autosomal dominant cerebellar ataxia type I (ADCA I). Upper- and lower-limb motor evoked potentials (MEPs) to transcranial magnetic stimulation, median and tibial nerve somatosensory evoked potentials (Mn and Tn-SSEPs), orthodromic sensory (SCV) and motor conduction (MCV) velocity along median and tibial nerve, brainstem auditory evoked potentials (BAEPs), and visual evoked potentials (VEPs) were examined. Molecular analysis showed 2 SCA1 families and 2 families linked to the SCA2 locus. A sural nerve biopsy was performed in 5 patients. Brainstem damage of the auditory pathway was observed in 79% of patients examined. VEP abnormalities possibly of central origin were found in 52% of patients. MEP and SSEP abnormalities were differently distributed along the pathways examined: the longer the pathway, the higher the occurrence and severity of impairment. Peripheral dying-back neuropathy (confirmed by nerve bioptic data) was a frequent finding (56%). A progressive degenerative process involving first the longest tracts of the central motor and central and peripheral branches of somatosensory pathways is hypothesized in ADCA I. MEP abnormalities were more frequent in SCA1, and the sensory-motor neuropathy was more severe in SCA2.