An inherited deficiency in the frataxin protein causes neurodegeneration of the dorsal root ganglia and Friedreich's ataxia (FA). Frataxin deficiency leads to oxidative stress and inflammatory changes in cell and animal models; however, the cause of the inflammatory changes, and especially what causes brain microglial activation is unclear. Here we investigated: 1) the mechanism by which frataxin deficiency activates microglia, 2) whether a brain-localized inflammatory stimulus provokes a greater microglial response in FA animal models, and 3) whether an anti-inflammatory treatment improves their condition. Intracerebroventricular administration of LPS induced higher amounts of microglial activation in the FA mouse model vs controls. We also observed an increase in oxidative damage in the form of 8-oxoguanine (8-oxo-G) and the DNA repair proteins MUTYH and PARP-1 in cerebellar microglia of FA mutant mice.
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