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Cellular pathophysiology of Friedreich's ataxia cardiomyopathy

FRDA cardiomyopathy is a complex and progressive disease with no cure or treatment to slow its progression. At the cellular level, cardiomyocyte hypertrophy, apoptosis and fibrosis contribute to the cardiac pathology. However, the heart is composed of multiple cell types and several clinical studies have reported the involvement of cardiac non-myocytes such as vascular cells, autonomic neurons, and inflammatory cells in the pathogenesis of FRDA cardiomyopathy. In fact, several of the cardiac pathologies associated with FRDA including cardiomyocyte necrosis, fibrosis, and arrhythmia, could be contributed to by a diseased vasculature and autonomic dysfunction. Here, the authors review available evidence regarding the current understanding of cellular mechanisms and the involvement of cardiac non-myocytes in the pathogenesis of FRDA cardiomyopathy.

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