Body Mass Index Is Significantly Associated With Disease Severity in Spinocerebellar Ataxia Type 2 Patients.


Almaguer-Mederos LE(1), Pérez-Ávila I(1)(2), Aguilera-Rodríguez R(1), Velázquez-Garcés M(2), Almaguer-Gotay D(1), Hechavarría-Pupo R(1), Rodríguez-Estupiñán A(1), Auburger G(3).
Author information:
(1)Center for the Investigation and Rehabilitation of Hereditary Ataxias, Holguín, Cuba.
(2)Center for Sports Medicine, Holguín, Cuba.
(3)Experimental Neurology, Goethe University Medical Faculty, Frankfurt, Germany.


BACKGROUND: Spinocerebellar ataxia type 2 is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder due to an unstable expansion of a CAG repeat in the ATXN2 gene. Although weight loss has been associated with disease progression in several neurodegenerative conditions, it has been barely assessed in patients with spinocerebellar ataxia type 2. OBJECTIVE: The objective of this study was to test whether body mass index is altered in patients with spinocerebellar ataxia type 2 with varying expansion sizes from early to late disease stages. METHODS: A cross-sectional case-control study was performed, which included 222 clinically and molecularly diagnosed patients and 214 sex- and age-matched healthy individuals. ATXN2 genotypes and sex were considered as risk factors. Clinical outcomes included the body mass index, age at onset, disease duration, Scale for the Assessment and Rating of Ataxia score, disease stage, dysphagia, and progression rate. Multiple linear regression models were generated. RESULTS: Body mass index was significantly decreased in male patients, but not in female patients, relative to control subjects. In addition to sex, body mass index was significantly associated with age at onset and progression rate. Conversely, body mass index, along with repeat length in ATXN2 expanded alleles and disease duration, was associated with Scale for the Assessment and Rating of Ataxia score. In addition, body mass index, along with the age at onset and the repeat length in ATXN2 normal and expanded alleles, has a significant influence on progression rate. CONCLUSIONS: Body mass index might be a useful biomarker of disease severity, particularly in male patients with spinocerebellar ataxia type 2 in the context of nutritional interventions or clinical trials assessing the efficacy of promising new drugs. © 2021 International Parkinson and Movement Disorder Society.