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The Cerebellum

, Volume 13, Issue 2, pp 269–302 | Cite as

Consensus Paper: Pathological Mechanisms Underlying Neurodegeneration in Spinocerebellar Ataxias

  • A. Matilla-DueñasEmail author
  • T. Ashizawa
  • A. Brice
  • S. Magri
  • K. N. McFarland
  • M. Pandolfo
  • S. M. Pulst
  • O. Riess
  • D. C. Rubinsztein
  • J. Schmidt
  • T. Schmidt
  • D. R. Scoles
  • G. Stevanin
  • F. Taroni
  • B. R. Underwood
  • I. Sánchez
Consensus Paper

Abstract

Intensive scientific research devoted in the recent years to understand the molecular mechanisms or neurodegeneration in spinocerebellar ataxias (SCAs) are identifying new pathways and targets providing new insights and a better understanding of the molecular pathogenesis in these diseases. In this consensus manuscript, the authors discuss their current views on the identified molecular processes causing or modulating the neurodegenerative phenotype in spinocerebellar ataxias with the common opinion of translating the new knowledge acquired into candidate targets for therapy. The following topics are discussed: transcription dysregulation, protein aggregation, autophagy, ion channels, the role of mitochondria, RNA toxicity, modulators of neurodegeneration and current therapeutic approaches. Overall point of consensus includes the common vision of neurodegeneration in SCAs as a multifactorial, progressive and reversible process, at least in early stages. Specific points of consensus include the role of the dysregulation of protein folding, transcription, bioenergetics, calcium handling and eventual cell death with apoptotic features of neurons during SCA disease progression. Unresolved questions include how the dysregulation of these pathways triggers the onset of symptoms and mediates disease progression since this understanding may allow effective treatments of SCAs within the window of reversibility to prevent early neuronal damage. Common opinions also include the need for clinical detection of early neuronal dysfunction, for more basic research to decipher the early neurodegenerative process in SCAs in order to give rise to new concepts for treatment strategies and for the translation of the results to preclinical studies and, thereafter, in clinical practice.

Keywords

Aggregation Ataxia Autophagy Calcium Cerebellum Mitochondria Neurodegeneration Polyglutamine Purkinje cell Therapy Transcription dysregulation Neuronal death 

Abbreviations

AFG3L2

ATPase family member 3-like 2

ATN1

Human atrophin-1 protein

Atxn

Mouse ataxin

ATXN

Human ataxin

BDNF

Brain-derived neurotrophic factor

CAG

Codon that codes for glutamine

Ced

C. elegans cell death gene

DCD

Dark cell degeneration

DRPLA

Dentatorubral–pallidoluysian atrophy

EAAT1

Excitatory amino acid transporter 1

FDA

US Food and Drug Administration

FRDA

Friedreich’s ataxia

FXTAS

Fragile X-associated tremor/ataxia syndrome

GABA

γ-Aminobutyric acid

HAT

Histone acetyltransferase

HD

Huntington’s disease

HDAC

Histone deacetylase

hnRNP K

Heterogeneous nuclear ribonucleoprotein K

IP3R1

Inositol 1,4,5-triphosphate receptor type 1

miRNA

MicroRNA

mTOR

Mammalian target of rapamycin

NIIs

Neuronal intranuclear inclusions (bodies)

PC

Purkinje cells

PolyQ

Polyglutamine

PPP2R2B

Human protein phosphatase 2, regulatory subunit B, beta

RBP

RNA-binding protein

RCT

Randomised, placebo-controlled trial

ROS

Reactive oxygen species

SCAs

Spinocerebellar ataxias

TBP

TATA-binding protein

UPS

Ubiquitin–proteasome system

VGICs

Voltage-gated ion channels

Notes

Acknowledgments

The authors acknowledge the following agencies for funding: the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation (BFU2008-00527/BMC to AM-D and IS); the Carlos III Health Institute (CP08/00027 to AM-D); the Iberoamerican Programme for Science, Technology and Development (CYTED; RIBERMOV, 210RT0390 to AM-D and IS); the European Commission (EUROSCA project, LHSM-CT-2004-503304 to AB, AM-D, DCR, GS and OR; the NEUROMICS project 7th PCRD-305121 to AB, AM-D, DCR, GS, IS, OR); the Fundació de la Marató de TV3 (Televisió de Catalunya, 100730 to AM-D and IS); the French Association “Connaitre les Syndrômes Cérébelleux”, the Verum Foundation (to GS); and the program “Investissements d’Avenir” (to AB and GS). TA is supported by the US National Institutes of Health (grant R01NS083564). DCR is funded by a Wellcome Trust Principal Fellowship, a Wellcome Trust/MRC Strategic Grant on Alzheimer’s disease and the Biomedical Research Unit in Dementia at Addenbrooke’s Hospital. Funding was obtained from the National Institutes of Health, R01NS033123 to S.M.P. and RC4NS073009 to SMP and DRS. FT was funded by Telethon-Italia (GGP09301), the Italian Ministry of Health (RF-2009-1539841) and ERA-Net E-Rare-2 JTC2011 (Euro-SCAR). Antoni Matilla-Dueñas is a Miguel Servet Investigator in Neurosciences of the Spanish National Health System.

We apologize to those research groups whose contributions could not be referred in this review due to space constraints.

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare no competing financial interests.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. Matilla-Dueñas
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • T. Ashizawa
    • 6
  • A. Brice
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
  • S. Magri
    • 12
  • K. N. McFarland
    • 6
  • M. Pandolfo
    • 7
  • S. M. Pulst
    • 8
  • O. Riess
    • 10
  • D. C. Rubinsztein
    • 9
  • J. Schmidt
    • 10
  • T. Schmidt
    • 10
  • D. R. Scoles
    • 8
  • G. Stevanin
    • 3
    • 4
    • 11
    • 5
  • F. Taroni
    • 12
  • B. R. Underwood
    • 13
  • I. Sánchez
    • 2
  1. 1.Health Sciences Research Institute Germans Trias i Pujol (IGTP)BadalonaSpain
  2. 2.Basic, Translational and Molecular Neurogenetics Research Unit in Neurosciences, Health Sciences Research Institute Germans Trias and Pujol (IGTP)Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, BadalonaBarcelonaSpain
  3. 3.Institut du Cerveau et de la Moelle épinière, CHU Pitié-SalpêtrièreParisFrance
  4. 4.CR-ICM (Inserm/UPMC UMR_S 975, CNRS UMR 7225), CHU Pitié-SalpêtrièreParisFrance
  5. 5.APHP, Fédération de Génétique, CHU Pitié-SalpêtrièreParisFrance
  6. 6.McKnight Brain Institute and Department of NeurologyUniversity of FloridaGainesvilleUSA
  7. 7.Department of Neurology, Hôpital ErasmeUniversitéLibre de BruxellesBrusselsBelgium
  8. 8.Department of NeurologyUniversity of UtahSalt Lake CityUSA
  9. 9.Wellcome Trust/MRC Building, Addenbrooke’s HospitalCambridge Institute for Medical ResearchCambridgeUK
  10. 10.Institute of Medical Genetics & Applied Genomics and Centre for Rare Diseases (ZSE Tübingen)University of TuebingenTubingenGermany
  11. 11.Laboratoire de Neurogénétique, Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes, CHU Pitié-SalpêtrièreParisFrance
  12. 12.Unit of Genetics of Neurodegenerative and Metabolic DiseaseFondazione IRCCS Istituto Neurologico “Carlo Besta”MilanItaly
  13. 13.Department of Old Age PsychiatryBeechcroft, Fulbourn HospitalCambridgeUK

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