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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Idebenone delays the onset of cardiac functional alteration without correction of Fe-S enzymes deficit in a mouse model for Friedreich ataxia.

Friedreich ataxia (FRDA), a progressive neurodegenerative disorder associated with cardiomyopathy, is caused by severely reduced frataxin, a mitochondrial protein involved in Fe-S cluster assembly. We have recently generated mouse models that reproduce important progressive pathological and biochemical features of the human disease. Our frataxin-deficient mouse models initially demonstrate time-dependent intramitochondrial iron accumulation, which occurs after onset of the pathology and after inactivation of the Fe-S dependent enzymes. Here, we report a more detailed pathophysiological characterization of our mouse model with isolated cardiac disease by echocardiographic, biochemical and histological studies and its use for placebo-controlled therapeutic trial with Idebenone. The Fe-S enzyme deficiency occurs at 4 weeks of age, prior to cardiac dilatation and concomitant development of left ventricular hypertrophy, while the mitochondrial iron accumulation occurs at a terminal stage. From 7 weeks onward, Fe-S enzyme activities are strongly decreased and are associated with lower levels of oxidative stress markers, as a consequence of reduced respiratory chain activity. Furthermore, we demonstrate that the antioxidant Idebenone delays the cardiac disease onset, progression and death of frataxin deficient animals by 1 week, but does not correct the Fe-S enzyme deficiency. Our results support the view that frataxin is a necessary, albeit non-essential, component of the Fe-S cluster biogenesis, and indicate that Idebenone acts downstream of the primary Fe-S enzyme deficit. Furthermore, our results demonstrate that Idebenone is cardioprotective even in the context of a complete lack of frataxin, which further supports its utilization for the treatment of FRDA.[1]


  1. Idebenone delays the onset of cardiac functional alteration without correction of Fe-S enzymes deficit in a mouse model for Friedreich ataxia. Seznec, H., Simon, D., Monassier, L., Criqui-Filipe, P., Gansmuller, A., Rustin, P., Koenig, M., Puccio, H. Hum. Mol. Genet. (2004) [Pubmed]
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