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Trends Neurosci. 1995 Oct;18(10):459-61.

Spinal and bulbar muscular atrophy: a trinucleotide-repeat expansion neurodegenerative disease.

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University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Dept of Neurology, Philadelphia 19104, USA.


Spinal and bulbar muscular atrophy (SBMA) is an X-linked, adult-onset motor neuronopathy that is caused by expansion of a trinucleotide (CAG) repeat in the androgen-receptor gene. The length of this repeat varies as it is passed down through SBMA families, and correlates inversely with the age of onset of the disease. The motor-neuron degeneration that occurs in this disease is probably caused by a toxic gain of function in the androgen-receptor protein. Subsequent to the identification of the mutation in SBMA, other inherited neurodegenerative diseases have been found to be caused by the expansion of CAG repeats in the coding regions of other genes. Because these diseases probably share a common pathogenesis, investigation of SBMA might help to determine a general mechanism of neuronal degeneration.

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