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FASEB J. 2000 Apr;14(5):691-8.

Uric acid, a peroxynitrite scavenger, inhibits CNS inflammation, blood-CNS barrier permeability changes, and tissue damage in a mouse model of multiple sclerosis.

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Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Kimmel Cancer Institute, and the Biotechnology Foundation Laboratories, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19107, USA.


Peroxynitrite (ONOO(-)), a toxic product of the free radicals nitric oxide and superoxide, has been implicated in the pathogenesis of CNS inflammatory diseases, including multiple sclerosis and its animal correlate experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE). In this study we have assessed the mode of action of uric acid (UA), a purine metabolite and ONOO(-) scavenger, in the treatment of EAE. We show that if administered to mice before the onset of clinical EAE, UA interferes with the invasion of inflammatory cells into the CNS and prevents development of the disease. In mice with active EAE, exogenously administered UA penetrates the already compromised blood-CNS barrier, blocks ONOO(-)-mediated tyrosine nitration and apoptotic cell death in areas of inflammation in spinal cord tissues and promotes recovery of the animals. Moreover, UA treatment suppresses the enhanced blood-CNS barrier permeability characteristic of EAE. We postulate that UA acts at two levels in EAE: 1) by protecting the integrity of the blood-CNS barrier from ONOO(-)-induced permeability changes such that cell invasion and the resulting pathology is minimized; and 2) through a compromised blood-CNS barrier, by scavenging the ONOO(-) directly responsible for CNS tissue damage and death.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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