Cardiomyopathy of Friedreich’s Ataxia: Use of Mouse Models to Understand Human Disease and Guide Therapeutic Development


Friedreich’s ataxia is a multisystem disorder of mitochondrial function affecting primarily the heart and brain. Patients experience a severe cardiomyopathy that can progress to heart failure and death. Although the gene defect is known, the precise function of the deficient mitochondrial protein, frataxin, is not known and limits therapeutic development. Animal models have been valuable for understanding the basic events of this disease. A significant need exists to focus greater attention on the heart disease in Friedreich’s ataxia, to understand its long-term outcome, and to develop new therapeutic strategies using existing medications and approaches. This review discusses some key features of the cardiomyopathy in Friedreich’s ataxia and potential therapeutic developments.

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Support for this project was provided in part by the Friedreich’s Ataxia Research Alliance and the National Institutes of Health (1P01HL 085098 and R21 NS052198). The funding sources had no role in the performance or presentation of this research.

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Payne, R.M., Pride, P.M. & Babbey, C.M. Cardiomyopathy of Friedreich’s Ataxia: Use of Mouse Models to Understand Human Disease and Guide Therapeutic Development. Pediatr Cardiol 32, 366–378 (2011).

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  • Cardiomyopathy
  • Friedreich’s ataxia
  • Mitochondria
  • Therapy