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FARAFARA Cure FA

 

Scientific News

FARA funds research progress

In this section, you will find the most recent FA research publications, many of which are funded by FARA, as well as information on upcoming conferences and symposiums. You can search for articles by date using the archive box in the right hand column. To locate FARA Funded or Supported Research, click the hyperlink in the right hand column. You may also search for specific content using key words or phrases in the search button at the top right of your screen. Please be sure to visit other key research sections of our website for information on FARA’s Grant Program and the Treatment Pipeline.

 


 

Downregulation of GSTK1 Is a Common Mechanism Underlying Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) is characterized by left ventricular hypertrophy and is associated with a number of potential outcomes, including impaired diastolic function, heart failure, and sudden cardiac death. Various etiologies have been described for HCM, including pressure overload and mutations in sarcomeric and non-sarcomeric genes. However, the molecular pathogenesis of HCM remains incompletely understood. In this study, we performed comparative transcriptome analysis to identify dysregulated genes common to five mouse HCM models of differing etiology: (i) mutation of myosin heavy chain 6, (ii) mutation of tropomyosin 1, (iii) expressing human phospholamban on a null background, (iv) knockout of frataxin, and (v) transverse aortic constriction. Gene-by-gene comparison identified five genes dysregulated in all five HCM models. Glutathione S-transferase kappa 1 (Gstk1) was significantly downregulated in the five models, whereas myosin heavy chain 7 (Myh7), connective tissue growth factor (Ctgf), periostin (Postn), and reticulon 4 (Rtn4) were significantly upregulated.

Read the entire article HERE

Vestibulo-ocular reflex dynamics with head-impulses discriminates spinocerebellar ataxias types 1, 2 and 3 and Friedreich ataxia

OBJECTIVE:
Although the diagnosis of inherited ataxias is ultimately genetic, this usually means an extensive and expensive process. This justifies the search for distinct clinical signs that may potentially help orient molecular diagnosis.

METHODS:
We explored the vestibulo-ocular reflex (VOR) with the video Head Impulse Test in patients diagnosed with spinocerebellar ataxia (SCA) type 3 (n = 15), type 1 (n = 4) and type 2 (n = 4), Friedreich's ataxia (FA) (n = 9) and healthy controls (n = 40). We estimated the latency, regression (VORr) and instantaneous VOR gain at 40, 60 and 80 ms (VOR40, VOR60 and VOR80), and determined the latency, peak-velocity and occurrence rate of catch-up saccades triggered with head-impulses.

Read the entire article HERE

Loss of Frataxin induces iron toxicity, sphingolipid synthesis, and Pdk1/Mef2 activation, leading to neurodegeneration

Mutations in Frataxin (FXN) cause Friedreich's ataxia (FRDA), a recessive neurodegenerative disorder. Previous studies have proposed that loss of FXN causes mitochondrial dysfunction, which triggers elevated reactive oxygen species (ROS) and leads to the demise of neurons. Here we describe a ROS independent mechanism that contributes to neurodegeneration in fly FXN mutants. We show that loss of frataxin homolog (fh) in Drosophila leads to iron toxicity, which in turn induces sphingolipid synthesis and ectopically activates 3-phosphoinositide dependent protein kinase-1 (Pdk1) and myocyte enhancer factor-2 (Mef2). Dampening iron toxicity, inhibiting sphingolipid synthesis by Myriocin, or reducing Pdk1 or Mef2 levels, all effectively suppress neurodegeneration in fh mutants. Moreover, increasing dihydrosphingosine activates Mef2 activity through PDK1 in mammalian neuronal cell line suggesting that the mechanisms are evolutionarily conserved. Our results indicate that an iron/sphingolipid/PDk1/Mef2 pathway may play a role in FRDA.

Read the entire article HERE

Oxidative Stress and altered lipid metabolism in Friedreich ataxia

Friedreich ataxia is a genetic disease caused by the deficiency of frataxin, a mitochondrial protein. Frataxin deficiency impacts in the cell physiology at several levels. One of them is oxidative stress with consequences in terms of protein dysfunctions and metabolic alterations. Among others, alterations in lipid metabolism have been observed in several models of the disease. In this review we summarize the current knowledge of the molecular basis of the disease, the relevance of oxidative stress and the therapeutic strategies based on reduction of mitochondrial reactive oxygen species production. Finally, we will focus the interest in alterations of lipid metabolism as a consequence of mitochondrial dysfunction and describe the therapeutic approaches based on targeting lipid metabolism.

Read the entire article HERE

US FDA Grants Orphan Drug Designation for Retrotope’s RT001 in the treatment of Friedreich’s ataxia

First-in-human clinical trial for RT001 is now fully enrolled

LOS ALTOS, CA, June 1, 2016 – Retrotope announced today that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Office of Orphan Products Development granted orphan drug designation for its stabilized fatty acid drug (RT001) for the treatment of Friedreich’s ataxia (FA). This follows the recent announcement that RT001 was well tolerated with no serious adverse events or dose limiting toxicities in the first cohort of its Phase 1/2 clinical trial in FA patients.

Read the entire Press Release HERE

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