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Keywords:

  • cerebellum;
  • dorsal root ganglion;
  • antioxidant;
  • mitochondrion;
  • disposition index

Abstract

This study tested the ability of A0001 (α-tocopheryl quinone; EPI-A0001), a potent antioxidant, to improve in vitro measures, glucose metabolism, and neurological function in Friedreich ataxia. We used an in vitro study of protection from cell toxicity followed by a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial of 2 doses of A0001 in 31 adults with Friedreich ataxia. The primary clinical trial outcome was the Disposition Index, a measure of diabetic tendency, from a frequently sampled intravenous glucose tolerance test, evaluated 4 weeks into therapy. Secondary neurologic measures included the Friedreich Ataxia Rating Scale. A0001 potently inhibited cell death in Friedreich ataxia models in vitro. For the clinical trial, mean guanine-adenine-adenine repeat length was 699, and mean age was 31 years. Four weeks after treatment initiation, differences in changes in the Disposition Index between subjects treated with A0001 and placebo were not statistically significant. In contrast, a dose-dependent improvement in the Friedreich Ataxia Rating Scale score was observed. Patients on placebo improved 2.0 rating scale points, whereas patients on low-dose A0001 improved by 4.9 points (P = .04) and patients on a high dose improved by 6.1 points (P < .01). Although A0001 did not alter the Disposition Index, it caused a dose-dependent improvement in neurologic function, as measured by the Friedreich Ataxia Rating Scale. Longer studies will assess the reproducibility and persistence of neurologic benefit. © 2012 Movement Disorder Society