MRI shows the three archetypal patterns of CNS volume loss underlying progressive ataxias in vivo, namely spinal atrophy (SA), cortical cerebellar atrophy (CCA) and olivopontocerebellar atrophy (OPCA). The MRI-based CNS atrophy pattern was reviewed in 128 progressive ataxias. A CNS atrophy pattern was identified in 91 conditions: SA in Friedreich's ataxia, CCA in 5 acquired and 72 (24 dominant, 47 recessive,1 X-linked) inherited ataxias, OPCA in Multi-System Atrophy and 12 (9 dominant, 2 recessive,1 X-linked) inherited ataxias. The MRI-based CNS atrophy pattern may be useful for genetic assessment, identification of shared cellular targets, repurposing therapies or the enlargement of drug indications in progressive ataxias.

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