Purkinje cell pathology is a common finding in a range of inherited and acquired cerebellar disorders, with the degree of Purkinje cell injury dependent on the underlying aetiology. Purkinje cells have an unparalleled resistance to insult and display unique regenerative capabilities within the central nervous system. Their response to cell injury is not typical of most neurons and likely represents both degenerative, compensatory and regenerative mechanisms. Here we present a pathological study showing novel and fundamental insights into Purkinje cell injury, remodelling and repair in Friedreich's ataxia; the most common inherited ataxia. Analysing post-mortem cerebellum tissue from patients who had Friedreich's ataxia, we provide evidence of significant injury to the Purkinje cell axonal compartment with relative preservation of both the perikaryon and its extensive dendritic arborisation.
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