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Int J Biochem Cell Biol. 2009 Jul;41(7):1467-70. doi: 10.1016/j.biocel.2009.02.011. Epub 2009 Feb 23.

Citicoline (CDP-choline): What role in the treatment of complications of infectious diseases.

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Vascular Immunology Unit, Faculty of Medicine, University of Sydney, Parramatta Road, Camperdown, NSW 2042, Australia.


A dysregulated host immune response, as opposed to the intrinsic virulence of a microbial pathogen induces a large part of the pathology seen in infectious diseases. However, current therapies are designed to target the pathogen rather than the underlying pathogenic mechanisms responsible for the manifestation of the pathology. Recent studies have highlighted the role of endothelial cell alteration in the pathology induced in sepsis and cerebral malaria. The endothelial onslaught described, is similar to that seen during ischemia reperfusion in stroke. Protecting endothelial cell membranes during sepsis and cerebral malaria, using citicoline in the same way as in stroke, has thus emerged as a new strategy that needs to be evaluated urgently. Citicoline is a natural compound that is registered for use in ischemic stroke, head trauma and neurological disorders. It enters the phosphatidylcholine synthesis pathway as a rate-limiting step and is involved in the modulation of a large number of metabolic pathways and neurotransmitter levels, and also in the biosynthesis of phospholipids in neuronal membranes. This short review highlights the potential role of citicoline as part of adjunct therapy in the treatment of infectious diseases.

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