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Adv Drug Deliv Rev. 2008 Oct-Nov;60(13-14):1478-87. doi: 10.1016/j.addr.2008.02.014. Epub 2008 Jul 4.

Role of dichloroacetate in the treatment of genetic mitochondrial diseases.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism, College of Medicine, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32610-0226, USA.


Dichloroacetate (DCA) is an investigational drug for the treatment of genetic mitochondrial diseases. Its primary site of action is the pyruvate dehydrogenase (PDH) complex, which it stimulates by altering its phosphorylation state and stability. DCA is metabolized by and inhibits the bifunctional zeta-1 family isoform of glutathione transferase/maleylacetoacetate isomerase. Polymorphic variants of this enzyme differ in their kinetic properties toward DCA, thereby influencing its biotransformation and toxicity, both of which are also influenced by subject age. Results from open label studies and controlled clinical trials suggest chronic oral DCA is generally well-tolerated by young children and may be particularly effective in patients with PDH deficiency. Recent in vitro data indicate that a combined DCA and gene therapy approach may also hold promise for the treatment of this devastating condition.

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