Friedreich's Ataxia (FRDA) is a neurodegenerative disorder, characterized by degeneration of dorsal root ganglia, cerebellum and cardiomyopathy. This study investigates Ca2+ homeostasis in cerebellar granule neurons (CGNs) and in cardiomyocytes to understand the pathogenesis of degeneration. Ca2+ homeostasis in neurons and cardiomyocytes is not only crucial for cell health, but is also importantly involved in the ability of both neurons and cardiomyocytes to function. By challenging Ca2+ homeostasis in CGNs, and in adult and neonatal cardiomyocytes of FRDA models, we have assessed the impact of frataxin decrease on both neuronal and cardiac physiopathology. Interestingly, we have found that Ca2+ homeostasis is altered both cell types. CGNs showed a Ca2+ mishandling under depolarizing conditions and this was also reflected in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) content. In cardiomyocytes we found that the sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR) Ca2+ content was pathologically reduced, and that mitochondrial Ca2+ uptake was impaired. Our findings demonstrate that in both neurons and cardiomyocytes the decreased Ca2+ level within the stores has a comparable detrimental impact in their physiology. In cardiomyocytes, we found that ryanodine receptors (RyRs) may be leaking and expel more Ca2+ out from the SR. At the same time mitochondrial uptake was altered and we found that Vitamin E can restore this defect. Moreover, Vitamin E protects from cell death induced by hypoxia-reperfusion injury, revealing novel properties of Vitamin E as potential therapeutic tool for FRDA cardiomyopathy.
Read the entire article HERE