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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.

 


 

Lentivirus-meditated frataxin gene delivery reverses genome instability in Friedreich ataxia patient and mouse model fibroblasts

Friedreich ataxia (FRDA) is a progressive neurodegenerative disease caused by deficiency of frataxin protein, with the primary sites of pathology being the large sensory neurons of the dorsal root ganglia (DRG) and the cerebellum. FRDA is also often accompanied by severe cardiomyopathy and diabetes mellitus. Frataxin is important in mitochondrial iron-sulphur cluster (ISC) biogenesis and low frataxin expression is due to a GAA repeat expansion in intron 1 of the FXN gene. FRDA cells are genomically unstable, with increased levels of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and sensitivity to oxidative stress. Here we report the identification of elevated levels of DNA double strand breaks (DSBs) in FRDA patient and YG8sR FRDA mouse model fibroblasts compared to normal fibroblasts.

Read the entire article HERE

Frataxin silencing alters microtubule stability in motor neurons: implications for Friedreich's Ataxia

To elucidate the pathogenesis of axonopathy in Friedreich's Ataxia (FRDA), a neurodegenerative disease characterized by axonal retraction, we analyzed the microtubule (MT) dynamics in an in vitro frataxin-silenced neuronal model (shFxn). A typical feature of MTs is their "dynamic instability", in which they undergo phases of growth (polymerization) and shrinkage (depolymerization). MTs play a fundamental role in the physiology of neurons and every perturbation of their dynamicity is highly detrimental for neuronal functions. The aim of this study is to determine whether MTs are S-glutathionylated in shFxn and if the glutathionylation triggers MT dysfunction.

Read the entire article HERE

Architecture of the Human Mitochondrial Iron-Sulfur Cluster Assembly Machinery

Iron-Sulphur clusters, essential cofactors needed for the activity of many different enzymes, are assembled by conserved protein machineries inside bacteria and mitochondria. As the architecture of the human machinery remains undefined, we co-expressed in E. coli four proteins involved in the initial step of Fe-S cluster synthesis: FXN42-210 (iron donor), [NFS1]-[ISD11] (sulfur donor), and ISCU (scaffold upon which new clusters are assembled). We purified a stable, active complex consisting of all four proteins with 1:1:1:1 stoichiometry.

Read the entire article HERE

Cerebral and cerebellar grey matter atrophy in Friedreich ataxia: the IMAGE-FRDA study

Friedreich ataxia (FRDA) is traditionally associated with neuropathology in the cerebellar dentate nucleus and spinal cord. Growing evidence also suggests involvement of the cerebral and cerebellar cortices, although reports of structural abnormalities remain mixed. This study assessed the structural integrity of cortical grey matter in FRDA, focussing on regions in which pathology may underlie the motor deficits characteristic of this disorder. T1-weighted anatomical magnetic resonance imaging scans were acquired from 31 individuals with FRDA and 37 healthy controls. Cortical thickness (FreeSurfer) and cortical volume (SPM-VBM) were measured in cerebral motor regions-of-interest (primary motor, dorsal and ventral premotor, and supplementary motor areas) alongside unconstrained exploratory analyses of the cerebral and cerebellar cortices. Correlations were assessed between cortical thickness/volume measures and each of disease severity, length of the causative genetic triplet-repeat expansion, and finger-tapping behavioural measures.

Read the entire article HERE

Voice in Friedreich Ataxia

BACKGROUND:
Friedreich Ataxia (FRDA) is the most common hereditary ataxia, with dysarthria as one of its key clinical signs.

OBJECTIVE:
To describe the voice profile of individuals with FRDA to inform outcome marker development and goals of speech therapy.

METHODS:
Thirty-six individuals with FRDA and 30 age-matched controls provided sustained vowel and connected speech samples. Speech and voice samples were analyzed acoustically using the Analysis of Dysphonia in Speech and Voice program and perceptually using the Consensus Auditory-Perceptual Evaluation of Voice form. Correlations between dysphonia and overall dysarthria severity, demographic, clinical, and genetic information were explored.

RESULTS:
Individuals with FRDA presented with mild dysphonia characterized by hoarseness (combined roughness and breathiness), increased strain, and altered pitch variability (increased in vowel productions; slightly decreased on reading samples). Acoustically, individuals with FRDA had significantly higher scores on the Cepstral Spectral Index of Dysphonia during vowel production. A combination of perceptual and acoustic measures of dysphonia used in this study was quite effective in categorizing the FRDA versus control participants, with >80% overall accuracy.

Read the entire article HERE

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