Therapeutic intervention in experimental allergic encephalomyelitis by administration of uric acid precursors

Gwen S. Scott, Sergei V. Spitsin, Rhonda B. Kean, Tatiana Mikheeva, Hilary Koprowski, D. Craig Hooper

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

121 Scopus citations


Uric acid (UA) is a purine metabolite that selectively inhibits peroxynitrite-mediated reactions implicated in the pathogenesis of multiple sclerosis (MS) and other neurodegenerative diseases. Serum UA levels are inversely associated with the incidence of MS in humans because MS patients have low serum UA levels and individuals with hyperuricemia (gout) rarely develop the disease. Moreover, the administration of UA is therapeutic in experimental allergic encephalomyelitis (EAE), an animal model of MS. Thus, raising serum UA levels in MS patients, by oral administration of a UA precursor such as inosine, may have therapeutic value. We have assessed the effects of inosine, as well as inosinic acid, on parameters relevant to the chemical reactivity of peroxynitrite and the pathogenesis of EAE. Both had no effect on chemical reactions associated with peroxynitrite, such as tyrosine nitration, or on the activation of inflammatory cells in vitro. Moreover, when mice treated with the urate oxidase inhibitor potassium oxonate were fed inosine or inosinic acid, serum UA levels were elevated markedly for a period of hours, whereas only a minor, transient increase in serum inosine was detected. Administration of inosinic acid suppressed the appearance of clinical signs of EAE and promoted recovery from ongoing disease. The therapeutic effect on animals with active EAE was associated with increased UA, but not inosine, levels in CNS tissue. We, therefore, conclude that the mode of action of inosine and inosinic acid in EAE is via their metabolism to UA.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)16303-16308
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number25
StatePublished - 10 Dec 2002
Externally publishedYes


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