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Friedreich Ataxia: current state-of-the-art, and future prospects for mitochondrial-focused therapies

A body of literature has been focused on the attempts to counteract frataxin deficiency and the consequent iron imbalance, in order to mitigate the disease-associated prooxidant state and clinical course. The present mini review is aimed at evaluating the basic and clinical reports on the roles and the use of a set of iron chelators, antioxidants and some cofactors involved in the key mitochondrial functions. Extensive literature has focused on the protective roles of iron chelators, coenzyme Q10 and analogs, and vitamin E, altogether with varying outcomes in clinical studies. Other studies have suggested mitoprotective roles for other mitochondrial cofactors, involved in Krebs cycle, such as alpha-lipoic acid and carnitine, involved in acyl transport across the mitochondrial membrane. A body of evidence points to the strong antioxidant properties of these cofactors, and to their potential contribution in mitoprotective strategies in Friedreich's Ataxia clinical evolution. Thus, the authors suggest the rationale for planning combination strategies based on the three mitochondrial cofactors and of some antioxidants and iron binders as mitoprotective cocktails in FRDA patients, calling attention to clinical practitioners of the importance to implement clinical trials.

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