Powerhouse failure and oxidative damage in autosomal recessive spastic ataxia of Charlevoix-Saguenay

Chiara Criscuolo, C. Procaccini, M. C. Meschini, A. Cianflone, R. Carbone, S. Doccini, D. Devos, C. Nesti, I. Vuillaume, M. Pellegrino, A. Filla, G. De Michele, G. Matarese, F. M. Santorelli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Autosomal recessive spastic ataxia of Charlevoix-Saguenay (ARSACS) is a neurodegenerative disease due to mutations in SACS, which encodes sacsin, a protein localized on the mitochondrial surface and possibly involved in mitochondrial dynamics. In view of the possible mitochondrial involvement of sacsin, we investigated mitochondrial activity at functional and molecular level in skin fibroblasts obtained from ARSACS patients. We observed remarkable bioenergetic damage in ARSACS cells, as indicated by reduced basal, adenosine triphosphate (ATP)-linked and maximal mitochondrial respiration rate, and by reduced respiratory chain activities and mitochondrial ATP synthesis. These phenomena were associated with increased reactive oxygen species production and oxidative nuclear DNA damage. Our results suggest that loss of sacsin is associated with oxidative stress and mitochondrial dysfunction, and thus highlight a novel mechanism in the pathogenesis of ARSACS. The involvement of mitochondria and oxidative stress in disease pathogenesis has been described in a number of other neurodegenerative diseases. Therefore, on the basis of our findings, which suggest a potential therapeutic role for antioxidant agents, ARSACS seems to fall within a larger group of disorders.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2755-2763
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Neurology
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2015


  • Mitochondrial dynamics
  • Mitochondrial metabolism
  • SACS
  • Sacsin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neurology


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