The YG8sR mice are Knock-Out (KO) for their murine frataxin gene but contain a human frataxin transgene derived from an FRDA patient with 300 GAA repeats. These mice are used as a FRDA model but even with a low frataxin concentration, their phenotype is mild. The authors aimed to find an optimized mouse model with a phenotype comparable to the human patients to study the impact of therapy on the phenotype. Two mouse models were compared: the YG8sR injected with an AAV. PHP.B coding for a shRNA targeting the human frataxin gene and the YG8-800, a new mouse model with a human transgene containing 800 GAA repeats. Both mouse models were compared to Y47R mice containing nine GAA repeats that were considered healthy mice. Behavior tests (parallel rod floor apparatus, hanging test, inverted T beam, and notched beam test) were carried out from 2 to 11 months and significant differences were noticed for both YG8sR mice injected with an anti-FXN shRNA and the YG8-800 mice compared to healthy mice. In conclusion, YG8sR mice have a slight phenotype, and injecting them with an AAV-PHP.B expressing an shRNA targeting frataxin does increase their phenotype. The YG8-800 mice have a phenotype comparable to the human ataxic phenotype.

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