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Clinical features and genetic analysis of a new form of spinocerebellar ataxia.

Neurology 2001 January 24
BACKGROUND: The autosomal dominant cerebellar ataxias (ADCA) are a clinically heterogeneous group of disorders. The mutations for SCA1, SCA2, SCA3, SCA6, SCA7, SCA8, and SCA-12 are identified and caused by an expansion of a CAG or a CTG repeat sequence of these genes. Six additional loci for SCA4, SCA5, SCA-10, SCA-11, SCA-13, and SCA-14 are mapped. The growing heterogeneity of the autosomal dominant forms of these diseases shows that the genetic etiologies of at least 20% of ADCA have yet to be elucidated.

METHODS: The authors ascertained and clinically characterized a four-generation pedigree segregating an autosomal dominant phenotype for SCA. Direct mutation analysis, repeat expansion detection analysis, and linkage analysis for all known SCA loci were performed.

RESULTS: Direct mutational analysis excluded SCA1, 2, 3, 6, 7, 8, and 12; genetic linkage analysis excluded SCA4, 5,10, 11, 13, and 14, giving significant negative lod scores. Examination of the family showed that all affected members had gait ataxia and akinesia with variable features of dysarthria, hyporeflexia, and mild intellectual impairment. Eye movements were normal. Head MRI showed atrophy of the cerebellum without involvement of the brainstem. In 10 parent-child pairs, median onset occurred 10.5 years earlier in offspring than in their parents, suggesting anticipation.

CONCLUSION: This family is distinct from other families with SCA and is characterized by cerebellar ataxia and extrapyramidal signs.

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