Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Uric acid may help reduce effects of spinal cord injury

15.02.2005


Increasing levels of uric acid, a metabolic breakdown product found in blood and urine, may help cut some of the potentially devastating "secondary" cellular damage that occurs following a spinal cord injury, say researchers at Jefferson Medical College. The finding may lead to new treatments for such injuries.

After a spinal cord injury, the body’s inflammatory response may actually make things worse, releasing a variety of potentially harmful chemicals that can make the injury more severe. J. Craig Hooper, Ph.D., associate professor of microbiology and immunology at Jefferson Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia and at Jefferson’s Kimmel Cancer Center and his colleagues there and at the University of Messina in Italy looked at whether uric acid treatment could actually prevent some of this secondary damage following such an injury in mice. Uric acid was known to reduce inflammation damage related to a compound call peroxynitrite.
They found that mice that received uric acid just before and right after an experimental spinal cord injury recovered motor function both faster and to a greater extent than mice that received only saline. Subsequent tests found that the uric acid actually prevented inflammation and some damage. Tests in cell culture showed that uric acid protected spinal cord neurons from peroxynitrite-related damage. The scientists report their findings Feb. 14, 2005 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.


According to Dr. Hooper, secondary spinal cord damage – the so-called destructive cascade – begins within a few hours after the initial injury. "The effect is driven by nonspecific cells such as neutrophils," he explains, a type of white blood cell and a key player in the body’s inflammatory response to injury. "We know neutrophils make peroxynitrite, which is a major trigger in opening the blood-brain barrier."

Dr. Hooper says peroxynitrite is known to contribute to cell damage in neurodegenerative disorders, and is known to be produced as a result of the body’s inflammatory response.

"In the paper, we showed that uric acid modulates peroxynitrite’s effects," Dr. Hooper says. "It’s incredibly useful in preventing the damage related to peroxynitrite as a toxic molecule. More importantly, it stops the secondary injury cascade by preventing the neutrophils from getting into spinal cord tissues through the blood-brain barrier."

Dr. Hooper and his co-workers compared injured rats that received saline to spinal cord-injured rats that were given uric acid. "The injury causes a tremendous amount of damage in the mice – less than 50 percent range of motion in one or two hind limb joints remain immediately following the injury," he says. Those given saline had regained movement of up to two or three joints. The uric acid-treated rats recovered to where they could support their own weight, despite having some disabilities due to the damage.

Next, the scientists want to better understand how the peroxynitrite-mediated processes actually work, which is particularly important to learning how to control immune responses in the central nervous systems of both in mice and humans. "We’re looking at various models to distinguish between peroxynitrite pathology and its effects on blood-brain barrier function," he says.

"We want to establish the precise timing where the inactivation of peroxynitrite will have therapeutic benefit," he says. "In the spinal cord, we know many of the changes occur within 24 hours. It’s certainly feasible to give someone uric acid immediately and raise levels in 50 minutes. Whether or not this should be a first-line response is unknown.

"There is a range we could work with in raising levels before there’s a problem, such as in gout," he says, referring to an ailment characterized by excessive uric acid. "We know that the human uric acid baseline is higher than that in mice, but we also know that the damage we see in the human spinal cord after injury is very similar to that seen in the mice.

"Raising uric acid levels in humans similarly to the rise we cause in the mouse should be sufficient to block peroxynitrite," Dr. Hooper says. "Our natural levels of uric acid are not sufficient. Moreover, someone with lower levels who has a spinal cord injury could definitely suffer greater damage."

Steve Benowitz | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.jefferson.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Nonstop Tranport of Cargo in Nanomachines
20.11.2018 | Max-Planck-Institut für molekulare Zellbiologie und Genetik

nachricht Researchers find social cultures in chimpanzees
20.11.2018 | Universität Leipzig

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Nonstop Tranport of Cargo in Nanomachines

Max Planck researchers revel the nano-structure of molecular trains and the reason for smooth transport in cellular antennas.

Moving around, sensing the extracellular environment, and signaling to other cells are important for a cell to function properly. Responsible for those tasks...

Im Focus: UNH scientists help provide first-ever views of elusive energy explosion

Researchers at the University of New Hampshire have captured a difficult-to-view singular event involving "magnetic reconnection"--the process by which sparse particles and energy around Earth collide producing a quick but mighty explosion--in the Earth's magnetotail, the magnetic environment that trails behind the planet.

Magnetic reconnection has remained a bit of a mystery to scientists. They know it exists and have documented the effects that the energy explosions can...

Im Focus: A Chip with Blood Vessels

Biochips have been developed at TU Wien (Vienna), on which tissue can be produced and examined. This allows supplying the tissue with different substances in a very controlled way.

Cultivating human cells in the Petri dish is not a big challenge today. Producing artificial tissue, however, permeated by fine blood vessels, is a much more...

Im Focus: A Leap Into Quantum Technology

Faster and secure data communication: This is the goal of a new joint project involving physicists from the University of Würzburg. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research funds the project with 14.8 million euro.

In our digital world data security and secure communication are becoming more and more important. Quantum communication is a promising approach to achieve...

Im Focus: Research icebreaker Polarstern begins the Antarctic season

What does it look like below the ice shelf of the calved massive iceberg A68?

On Saturday, 10 November 2018, the research icebreaker Polarstern will leave its homeport of Bremerhaven, bound for Cape Town, South Africa.

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Optical Coherence Tomography: German-Japanese Research Alliance hosted Medical Imaging Conference

19.11.2018 | Event News

“3rd Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP 2018” Attracts International Experts and Users

09.11.2018 | Event News

On the brain’s ability to find the right direction

06.11.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Sustainable energy supply in developing and emerging countries: What are the needs?

21.11.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Nonstop Tranport of Cargo in Nanomachines

20.11.2018 | Life Sciences

Researchers find social cultures in chimpanzees

20.11.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>