SCA-12: Tremor with cerebellar and cortical atrophy is associated with a CAG repeat expansion

Elizabeth O'Hearn, S. E. Holmes, P. C. Calvert, C. A. Ross, R. L. Margolis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Objective: To characterize the clinical and neuroradiologic features of a new spinocerebellar ataxia, SCA-12, in the index family. Background: The authors recently linked SCA-12 to a novel CAG repeat expansion on chromosome 5q31-33 that is located within the 5′ region of PPP2R2B, a gene encoding a brain-specific regulatory subunit of protein phosphatase 2A. Methods: Neurologic features of the proband and nine symptomatic relatives in the first SCA-12 family were compiled and, in some individuals, related to changes found on brain MRI or CT. Results: SCA-12 typically presented in the 4th decade of life with action tremor of the head or arms (present in 10/10 of the affected individuals). Hyperreflexia (8/10) was a common feature, and cerebellar signs (8/10), including ataxia, dysmetria, and dysarthria, developed gradually but were less prominent and disabling than cerebellar dysfunction in other SCA. Subtle parkinsonian features (9/10) and dementia (2/10) were observed in later stages of SCA-12, and psychiatric symptoms, including depression, anxiety, or delusions, were present in some affected family members (4/10). Two individuals studied had nondisabling neurologic signs neonatally, including nystagmus and lower extremity dystonia. Brain images of affected individuals revealed cerebral and cerebellar atrophy. Conclusions: SCA-12 is a slowly progressive, autosomal dominant, neurodegenerative disorder that differs from other SCA in that it typically presents with action tremor in patients in their mid 30s and usually includes hyperreflexia and subtle parkinsonian signs. Cerebellar dysfunction, including gait ataxia, is relatively nondisabling, and cognitive or psychiatric disorders may occur. Neuroradiologic studies reveal atrophy of the cerebellum and cerebral cortex.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)299-303
Number of pages5
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 13 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology

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