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Neurosurgery. 1989 Oct;25(4):613-7.

Cerebral uric acid, xanthine, and hypoxanthine after ischemia: the effect of allopurinol.

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Department of Neurosurgery, University of Virginia, Charlottesville.


The existence of uric acid in mammalian brain was recently reported, but it has not yet become a consensus. The mammalian brain has been thought to lack xanthine oxidase, which catalyzes hypoxanthine to xanthine and xanthine to uric acid as the last steps of ATP degradation in other tissue. Using high-performance liquid chromatography, we performed assays for hypoxanthine, xanthine, and uric acid in rat brain after cerebral ischemia. It was confirmed that all three substances showed significant augmentation in the removed brains and that the chronological order of those increases corresponded to the order in the metabolic pathway. Allopurinol, a specific inhibitor of xanthine oxidase, significantly suppressed the increases in uric acid and xanthine, and a compensatory accumulation of hypoxanthine was observed. From these results, it was concluded that uric acid does exist in the brain, increases after ischemia, and is possibly the end product of purine degradation in the brain. Furthermore, it is suggested that xanthine oxidase exists in the brain and catalyzes the reaction from hypoxanthine to xanthine and then to uric acid. These reactions catalyzed by xanthine oxidase are considered to be a source of free radicals and may play important roles in the pathogenesis of cerebral ischemic injury.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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