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Scientific News

FARA funds research progress

In this section, you will find the most recent FA research publications, many of which are funded by FARA, as well as information on upcoming conferences and symposiums. You can search for articles by date using the archive box in the right hand column. To locate FARA Funded or Supported Research, click the hyperlink in the right hand column. You may also search for specific content using key words or phrases in the search button at the top right of your screen. Please be sure to visit other key research sections of our website for information on FARA’s Grant Program and the Treatment Pipeline.


Interferon gamma upregulates frataxin and corrects the functional deficits in a Friedreich ataxia model

Friedreich's ataxia (FRDA) is the most common hereditary ataxia, affecting approximately 3 in 100,000 individuals in Caucasian populations. It is caused by intronic GAA repeat expansions that hinder the expression of the FXN gene, resulting in defective levels of the mitochondrial protein frataxin. Sensory neurons in dorsal root ganglia (DRG) are particularly damaged by frataxin deficiency. There is no specific therapy for FRDA.

Read More: Interferon gamma upregulates frataxin and corrects the functional deficits in a Friedreich ataxia model

Cardiac Dysfunction Exacerbated by Endocrinopathies in Friedreich Ataxia: A Case Series

Friedreich ataxia is a neurodegenerative disease characterized by gait abnormalities, cardiomyopathy, and diabetes. Congestive heart failure was recently reported as the most frequent cause of Friedreich ataxia mortality. Cardiac dysfunction is suspected to result from a frataxin deficiency that leads to oxidative damage in cardiac tissues and possible metabolic syndrome characteristics.

Read More: Cardiac Dysfunction Exacerbated by Endocrinopathies in Friedreich Ataxia: A Case Series

Is Friedreich ataxia an epigenetic disorder?

Friedreich ataxia (FRDA) is a debilitating and frequently fatal neurological disorder that is recessively inherited. It belongs to the group of genetic disorders known as the Repeat Expansion Diseases, in which pathology arises from the deleterious consequences of the inheritance of a tandem repeat array whose repeat number exceeds a critical threshold. In the case of FRDA, the repeat unit is the triplet GAA•TTC and the tandem array is located in the first intron of the frataxin (FXN) gene.

Read More: Is Friedreich ataxia an epigenetic disorder?

Epigenetics, epidemiology and mitochondrial DNA diseases

Over the last two decades, the mutation of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) has emerged as a major cause of inherited human disease. The disorders present clinically in at least 1 in 10 000 adults, but pathogenic mutations are found in approximately 1 in 200 of the background population. Mitochondrial DNA is maternally inherited and there can be marked phenotypic variability within the same family. Heteroplasmy is a significant factor and environmental toxins also appear to modulate the phenotype. Although genetic and biochemical studies have provided part of the explanation, a comprehensive understanding of the incomplete penetrance of these diseases is lacking—both at the population and family levels.

Read More: Epigenetics, epidemiology and mitochondrial DNA diseases

Erythropoietin in Friedreich ataxia: No effect on frataxin in a randomized controlled trial

BACKGROUND:

Friedreich ataxia is a rare disease caused by GAA-trinucleotide-repeat expansions in the frataxin gene, leading to marked reduction of qualitatively normal frataxin protein. Recently, human recombinant erythropoietin was reported to increase frataxin levels in patients with Friedreich ataxia.

METHODS:

Read More: Erythropoietin in Friedreich ataxia: No effect on frataxin in a randomized controlled trial

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