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Disease Markers
Volume 2015 (2015), Article ID 413098, 6 pages
Research Article

Cerebrospinal Fluid Biomarkers in Spinocerebellar Ataxia: A Pilot Study

1Department of Pediatrics, Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt, 2200 Children’s Way, Suite 2404, Nashville, TN 37232, USA
2Center for Magnetic Resonance Research, University of Minnesota, 2021 6th Street SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455, USA
3Department of Neurology, AMB S237, MC 2030, The University of Chicago, 5841 S. Maryland, Chicago, IL 60637, USA

Received 5 January 2015; Revised 2 July 2015; Accepted 2 July 2015

Academic Editor: Robert Pichler

Copyright © 2015 Ashley M. Brouillette et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Neurodegenerative diseases, including the spinocerebellar ataxias (SCA), would benefit from the identification of reliable biomarkers that could serve as disease subtype-specific and stage-specific indicators for the development and monitoring of treatments. We analyzed the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) level of tau, α-synuclein, DJ-1, and glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP), proteins previously associated with neurodegenerative processes, in patients with the autosomal dominant SCA1, SCA2, and SCA6, and the sporadic disease multiple system atrophy, cerebellar type (MSA-C), compared with age-matched controls. We estimated disease severity using the Scale for the Assessment and Rating of Ataxia (SARA). Most proteins measured trended higher in disease versus control group yet did not reach statistical significance. We found the levels of tau in both SCA2 and MSA-C patients were significantly higher than control. We found that α-synuclein levels were lower with higher SARA scores in SCA1 and tau levels were higher with greater SARA in MSA-C, although this final correlation did not reach statistical significance after post hoc correction. Additional studies with larger sample sizes are needed to improve the power of these studies and validate the use of CSF biomarkers in SCA and MSA-C.