The heart in Friedreich's Ataxia: Basic findings and clinical implications

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21 Scopus citations


Friedreich's Ataxia is the most common inherited ataxia in man. It is a mitochondrial disease caused by severely reduced expression of the iron binding protein, frataxin. A large GAA triplet expansion in the human FRDA gene encoding this protein inhibits expression of this gene. It is inherited in an autosomal recessive pattern and typically diagnosed in childhood. The primary symptoms include severe and progressive neuropathy, and a hypertrophic cardiomyopathy that may cause death. The cardiomyopathy is difficult to treat and is frequently associated with arrhythmias, heart failure, and intolerance of cardiovascular stress, such as surgeries. Innovative approaches to therapy, such as histone deacetylase inhibitors, and enzyme replacement with cell penetrant peptide fusion proteins, hold promise for this and other similar mitochondrial disorders. This review will focus on the basic findings of this disease, and the cardiomyopathy associated with its diagnosis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)103-109
Number of pages7
JournalProgress in Pediatric Cardiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 1 2011


  • Ataxia
  • Cardiomyopathy
  • Genetic
  • Heart
  • Mitochondria
  • Neuropathy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health

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