Background: Hereditary cerebellar ataxias are a group of disorders characterized by heterogeneous clinical manifestations, progressive clinical course, and diverse genetic causes. No disease modifying treatments are yet available for many of these disorders. Oxidative stress has been recurrently identified in different progressive cerebellar diseases, and it represents a widely investigated target for treatment.
Objective: To review the main aspects and new perspectives of antioxidant therapy in cerebellar ataxias ranging from bench to bedside.
Method: This article is a summary of the state-of-the-art on the use of antioxidant molecules in cerebellar ataxia treatments. It also briefly summarizes aspects of oxidative stress production and general characteristics of antioxidant compounds.
Results: Antioxidants represent a vast category of compounds; old drugs have been extensively studied and modified in order to achieve better biological effects. Despite the vast body of literature present on the use of antioxidants in cerebellar ataxias, for the majority of these disorders conclusive results on the efficacy are still missing.
Conclusion: Antioxidant therapy in cerebellar ataxias is a promising field of investigations. To achieve the success in identifying the correct treatment more work needs to be done. In particular, a combined effort is needed by basic scientists in developing more efficient molecules, and by clinical researchers together with patients communities, to run clinical trials in order to identify conclusive treatments strategies.
Keywords: Antioxidants, cerebellar ataxia, coenzyme Q10, idebenone, ataxias, oxidative stress.