Autosomal recessive cerebellar ataxia type I, also known as recessive ataxia of Beauce, is a slowly progressive ataxia that leads to moderate disability with gait ataxia, dysarthria, dysmetria, mild oculomotor abnormalities, and diffuse cerebellar atrophy on brain imaging. Mutations in the synaptic nuclear envelope protein 1 (SYNE1) gene, located on chromosome 6p25, were first reported in patients who originated from a region known as “Beauce” in the province of Quebec, Canada.
To better evaluate the prevalence of SYNE1 mutations in individuals with mild pure cerebellar ataxia and cerebellar atrophy, we screened the gene in additional French-Canadian (FC) families and individuals from other populations.
Design, Setting, and Participants
Study participants were referred by their treating physician on the basis of core features of autosomal recessive cerebellar ataxia type I. After excluding individuals with known SYNE1 mutations, our cohort was composed mainly of 19 FCs and 21 individuals from other ethnic backgrounds.
Extraction of DNA from blood samples and complete resequencing of the SYNE1 gene.
Main Outcomes and Measures
The involvement of SYNE1 mutations in individuals with ataxia worldwide by resequencing the SYNE1 gene.
Two novel truncating mutations were found among the FC participants, and 2 other novel mutations were found in a patient from France and a patient from Brazil (1 mutation each).
Conclusions and Relevance
This is the second report, to our knowledge, of SYNE1 gene mutations in a population other than FCs. These data suggest that mutations in SYNE1 should be investigated in families with cerebellar ataxia who live outside the FC region.