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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.


Analysis of the factors influencing the cardiac phenotype in Friedreich's ataxia

Friedreich's ataxia (FRDA) has been associated with both cardiac hypertrophy and to a lesser degree dilated cardiomyopathy. We have conducted a cross sectional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) study of 25 patients with clinically and genetically confirmed FRDA and 24 healthy controls to analyse how disease parameters influence cardiac features in FRDA. MR cine imaging in the long and short axis planes was performed alongside clinical assessments.

Analysis of the factors influencing the cardiac phenotype in Friedreich's ataxia

Ocular Motor Fixation Deficits in Friedreich Ataxia

Friedreich ataxia (FRDA) is the most common genetic cause of ataxia with a prevalence of approximately 1 in 29,000. Ocular motor abnormalities are common in FRDA and include fixation instability, saccadic dysmetria, and vestibular dysfunction. It has not yet been determined whether aspects of spatial attention, which are closely coupled to eye movements, are similarly compromised in FRDA. This study examined attentional engagement and disengagement of eye movements in FRDA using a gap overlap task.

Ocular Motor Fixation Deficits in Friedreich Ataxia

Altered lipid metabolism in a Drosophila model of Friedreich's ataxia

Friedreich’s ataxia (FRDA) is the most common form of autosomal recessive ataxia caused by a deficit in the mitochondrial protein frataxin. Although demyelination is a common symptom in FRDA patients, no multicellular model has yet been developed to study the involvement of glial cells in FRDA. Using the recently established RNAi-lines for targeted suppression of frataxin in Drosophila, we were able to study the effects of general versus glial specific frataxin downregulation. In particular we wanted to study the interplay between lowered frataxin content, lipid accumulation and peroxidation and the consequences of these effects on the sensitivity to oxidative stress and fly fitness.

Altered lipid metabolism in a Drosophila model of Friedreich's ataxia

Carbamylated erythropoietin increases frataxin independent from the erythropoietin receptor

Friedreich's ataxia (FRDA) is a neurodegenerative disorder caused by decreased expression of the mitochondrial protein frataxin. Recently we showed in a clinical pilot study in Friedreich's ataxia patients that recombinant human erythropoietin (rhuEPO) significantly increases frataxin-expression. In this in vitro study, we investigated the role of the erythropoietin receptor (EPO-R) in the frataxin increasing effect of rhuEPO and if nonerythropoietic carbamylated erythropoietin (CEPO), which cannot bind to the classical EPO-R increases frataxin expression.

Carbamylated erythropoietin increases frataxin independent from the erythropoietin receptor

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