Arquivos de Neuro-Psiquiatria
Print version ISSN 0004-282X
ARRUDA, Walter Oleschko and TEIVE, Hélio A. Ghizoni. Hereditary cerebellar ataxias from neurological hammer to genetics. Arq. Neuro-Psiquiatr. [online]. 1997, vol.55, n.3B, pp. 666-676. ISSN 0004-282X. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0004-282X1997000400027.
The hereditary ataxias comprise a complex group of neurological disorders involving the cerebellum and its connections. Several classifications based on clinical and/or pathological data have been only partially successful. Recent progress in molecular genetics has identified the genic loci of hereditary ataxias and has allowed a more precise diagnosis of distinct genetic diseases. Trinucleotide repeat expansions has been recognized as a mechanism of disease in some autosomal dominant spinocerebellar ataxias (ADCA) (SCA1 to SCA7), including Machado-Joseph disease / SCA3, probably the most common form of ADCA in South Brazil, and Friedreich ataxia (GAA expansion - chromosome 9p). Familial alpha-tocopherol deficiency (chromosome 8q) may have a Friedreich ataxia phenotype and responds to the oral supplementaion with vitamin E. Familial episodic ataxias with (EA1 - chromosome 12p) and without (chromosome 19p - EA2) myokimia were identified, the first one caused by point mutations in the gene encoding the KCNA1 potassium voltage-gated channel. The gene responsible for ataxia-teleangiectasia (chromosome 1 lq) was found to encode a putative DNA binding protein kinase (ATM), related to the cell cycle control. One to 3% of the population are heterozygotic ATM gen carry and pose a higher risk of cancer when exposed to ionizing radiation. Molecular biology has provided us with useful tools to diagnosis and genetic counseling and, hopefully, will provide us with a better understanding of the pathogenesis and eventual treatment of the several forms of hereditary ataxias.
Keywords : cerebellar ataxia; cerebellar diseases; trinucleotides; genetics.