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The MCK mouse heart model of Friedreich's ataxia

Alterations in iron-regulated proteins and cardiac hypertrophy are limited by iron chelation

There is no effective treatment for the cardiomyopathy of the most common autosomal recessive ataxia, Friedreich's ataxia (FA). The identification of potentially toxic mitochondrial (MIT) iron (Fe) deposits in FA suggests that Fe plays a role in its pathogenesis. This study used the muscle creatine kinase conditional frataxin (Fxn) knockout (mutant) mouse model that reproduces the classical traits associated with cardiomyopathy in FA. We examined the mechanisms responsible for the increased cardiac MIT Fe loading in mutants. Moreover, we explored the effect of Fe chelation on the pathogenesis of the cardiomyopathy. Our investigation showed that increased MIT Fe in the myocardium of mutants was due to marked transferrin Fe uptake, which was the result of enhanced transferrin receptor 1 expression.

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