Cardiomyopathy is a frequent cause of death in patients with Friedreich ataxia (FA), and a characteristic pathological feature is the focal accumulation of iron (Fe) in cardiomyocytes. This restricted localization of the metal contrasts with the diffuse cardiac Fe overload in hemochromatosis and transfusion siderosis. Nevertheless, heart Fe in FA contributes to cardiomyocyte necrosis, inflammation, and scarring as the disease progresses. A putative mechanism of cardiomyopathy in FA is Fe-mediated oxidative damage. Two other transition metals zinc (Zn) and copper (Cu), are diffusely distributed throughout normal hearts and the hearts of patients with FA.
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