Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Short report
Adult-onset spinocerebellar ataxia syndromes due to MTATP6 mutations
  1. Gerald Pfeffer1,2,
  2. Emma L Blakely3,
  3. Charlotte L Alston3,
  4. Adam Hassani1,
  5. Mike Boggild4,
  6. Rita Horvath1,
  7. David C Samuels5,
  8. Robert W Taylor3,
  9. Patrick F Chinnery1
  1. 1Institute of Genetic Medicine, Newcastle University, Newcastle, UK
  2. 2Clinician Investigator Program, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada
  3. 3Mitochondrial Research Group, Newcastle University, Newcastle, UK
  4. 4The Walton Centre, Liverpool, UK
  5. 5Center for Human Genetics Research, Department of Molecular Physiology and Biophysics, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, Tennessee, USA
  1. Correspondence to Professor Patrick F Chinnery, Institute of Genetic Medicine, Central Parkway, Newcastle, NE1 3BZ, UK; patrick.chinnery{at}


Background Spinocerebellar ataxia syndromes presenting in adulthood have a broad range of causes, and despite extensive investigation remain undiagnosed in up to ∼50% cases. Mutations in the mitochondrially encoded MTATP6 gene typically cause infantile-onset Leigh syndrome and, occasionally, have onset later in childhood. The authors report two families with onset of ataxia in adulthood (with pyramidal dysfunction and/or peripheral neuropathy variably present), who are clinically indistinguishable from other spinocerebellar ataxia patients.

Methods Genetic screening study of the MTATP6 gene in 64 pedigrees with unexplained ataxia, and case series of two families who had MTATP6 mutations.

Results Three pedigrees had mutations in MTATP6, two of which have not been reported previously and are detailed in this report. These families had the m.9185T>C and m.9035T>C mutations, respectively, which have not previously been associated with adult-onset cerebellar syndromes. Other investigations including muscle biopsy and respiratory chain enzyme activity were non-specific or normal.

Conclusions MTATP6 sequencing should be considered in the workup of undiagnosed ataxia, even if other investigations do not suggest a mitochondrial DNA disorder.

  • MTATP6
  • ATPase
  • mitochondria
  • ataxia
  • spinocerebellar ataxia
  • neuropathy
  • adult-onset
  • clinical neurology
  • mitochondrial disorders
  • muscular dystrophy
  • muscle disease
  • neurogenetics

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.


  • See Editorial commentary, p 857

  • Funding Funding for this work originated from the Wellcome Trust, Research Council (UK), the UK NIHR Biomedical Research Centre for Ageing and Age-related disease award to the Newcastle-upon-Tyne Foundation Hospitals NHS Trust and the UK NHS Specialised Services which supports the Rare Mitochondrial Disorders of Adults and Children Diagnostic Service ( in Newcastle-upon-Tyne. GP receives funding from the Clinician Investigator Program from the University of British Columbia (Vancouver, Canada), and a Bisby Fellowship from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. PFC is a Wellcome Trust Senior Clinical Fellow and NIHR Senior Investigator.

  • Competing interests None.

  • Patient consent Patients provided written informed consent for participation in this research. Our data are presented anonymously without any identifiers and, therefore, we did not obtain additional consent for submission of this work to Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry.

  • Ethics approval Ethics approval was granted by the Newcastle University Clinical Research Ethics Board.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

Linked Articles