Cerebellar ataxias are a group of disabling neurological disorders. Patients exhibit a cerebellar syndrome and can also present with extra-cerebellar deficits, namely pigmentary retinopathy, extrapyramidal movement disorders, pyramidal signs, cortical symptoms (seizures, cognitive impairment/behavioural symptoms), and peripheral neuropathy. Recently, deficits in cognitive operations have been unraveled. Cerebellar ataxias are heterogeneous both at the phenotypic and genotypic point of view. Therapeutical trials performed during these last 4 decades have failed in most cases, in particular because drugs were not targeting a deleterious pathway, but were given to counteract putative defects in neurotransmission. The identification of the causative mutations of many hereditary ataxias, the development of relevant animal models and the recent identifications of the molecular mechanisms underlying ataxias are impacting on the development of new drugs. We provide an overview of the pharmacological treatments currently used in the clinical practice and we discuss the drugs under development.
Keywords: Cerebellum, ataxias, dominant, recessive, X-linked, therapy
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