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Background: The autosomal dominant cerebellar ataxias (ADCA) are a heterogeneous group of neurodegenerative disorders characterized by progressive degeneration of the cerebellum, brain stem and spinal cord. Clinically, ADCA has been divided into three groups: ADCA types I-III. Defects in this gene are the cause of spinocerebellar ataxia type 2 (SCA2). SCA2 belongs to the autosomal dominant cerebellar ataxias type I (ADCA I) which are characterized by cerebellar ataxia in combination with additional clinical features like optic atrophy, ophthalmoplegia, bulbar and extrapyramidal signs, peripheral neuropathy and dementia.