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New potential therapeutic target discovered for genetic disorder -- Barth syndrome
Date:3/2/2009

ration, abnormal mitochondria, and poor motor function. In this new study researchers documented that tafazzin or cardiolipin deficiency in Drosophila disrupts the final stage of spermatogenesis causing male sterility. Using this fly model, the study showed that this trait of cardiolipin deficiency can be genetically suppressed by inactivating calcium-independent phospholipase A2, which prevents the degradation of cardiolipin. This method keeps cardiolipin levels normal. Researchers were also able to show that treatment of BTHS patients lymphoblasts within a tissue culture with the iPLA2-VIA inhibitor BEL partially restored the tissue cultures cardiolipin homeostasis.

"Taken together, our two findings establish a causal role of cardiolipin deficiency in the pathogenesis of Barth syndrome and identify iPLA2-VIA as a very important enzyme," said Michael Schlame, M.D., associate professor of anesthesiology and cell biology, NYU Langone Medical Center. "This is good news for patients since this enzyme is now a potential target for therapeutic intervention."

According to researchers, although this has not been tested in humans, the successful restoration of these mutated cells with BEL shows promise for continued BTHS research, patients and their families. There are no treatments for Barth syndrome at this time.


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Contact: Lauren Woods
lauren.woods@nyumc.org
212-404-3753
NYU Langone Medical Center / New York University School of Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

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