Spinocerebellar ataxia (SCA) comprises a large group of heterogeneous neurodegenerative disorders inherited in an autosomal dominant fashion. It is characterized by progressive cerebellar ataxia with oculomotor dysfunction, dysarthria, pyramidal signs, extrapyramidal signs, pigmentary retinopathy, peripheral neuropathy, cognitive impairment and other symptoms. It is classified according to the clinical manifestations or genetic nosology. To date, 40 SCAs have been characterized, and include SCA1 to 40. The pathogenic genes of 28 SCAs were identified. In recent years, with the widespread clinical use of next-generation sequencing, the genes underlying SCAs, and the mutants as well as the affected phenotypes were identified. These advances elucidated the phenotype-genotype relationship in SCAs. We reviewed the recent clinical advances, genetic features and phenotype-genotype correlations involving each SCA and its differentiation. The heterogeneity of the disease and the genetic diagnosis might be attributed to the regional distribution and clinical characteristics. Therefore, recognition of the phenotype-genotype relationship facilitates genetic testing, prognosis and monitoring of symptoms.
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