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Hum Mol Genet. 1997 May;6(5):709-15.

Molecular and clinical correlations in spinocerebellar ataxia 2: a study of 32 families.

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INSERM U289, Paris, France.


Spinocerebellar ataxia 2 (SCA2) is caused by the expansion of an unstable CAG repeat encoding a polyglutamine tract. One hundred and eighty four index patients with autosomal dominant cerebellar ataxia type I were screened for this mutation. We found expansion in 109 patients from 30 families of different geographical origins (15%) and in two isolated cases with no known family histories (2%). The SCA2 chromosomes contained from 34 to 57 repeats and consisted of a pure stretch of CAG, whereas all tested normal chromosomes (14-31 repeats), except one with 14 repeats, were interrupted by 1-3 repeats of CAA. As in other diseases caused by unstable mutations, a strong negative correlation was observed between the age at onset and the size of the CAG repeat (r = -0.81). The frequency of several clinical signs such as myoclonus, dystonia and myokymia increased with the number of CAG repeats whereas the frequency of others was related to disease duration. The CAG repeat was highly unstable during transmission with variations ranging from -8 to +12, and a mean increase of +2.2, but there was no significant difference according to the parental sex. This instability was confirmed by the high degree of gonadal mosaicism observed in sperm DNA of one patient.

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