Marked elevation in cortical urate and xanthine oxidoreductase activity in experimental bacterial meningitis

Christen, Stephan; Bifrare, Yeong-Delphine; Siegenthaler, Corinne; Leib, Stephen L.; Täuber, Martin G. (2001). Marked elevation in cortical urate and xanthine oxidoreductase activity in experimental bacterial meningitis. Brain research, 900(2), pp. 244-251. Amsterdam: Elsevier 10.1016/S0006-8993(01)02311-3

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Experimental bacterial meningitis due to Streptococcus pneumoniae in infant rats was associated with a time-dependent increase in CSF and cortical urate that was approximately 30-fold elevated at 22 h after infection compared to baseline. This increase was mirrored by a 20-fold rise in cortical xanthine oxidoreductase activity. The relative proportion of the oxidant-producing xanthine oxidase to total activity did not increase, however. Blood plasma levels of urate also increased during infection, but part of this was as a consequence of dehydration, as reflected by elevated ascorbate concentrations in the plasma. Administration of the radical scavenger alpha-phenyl-tert-butyl nitrone, previously shown to be neuroprotective in the present model, did not significantly affect either xanthine dehydrogenase or xanthine oxidase activity, and increased even further cortical accumulation of urate. Treatment with the xanthine oxidoreductase inhibitor allopurinol inhibited CSF urate levels earlier than those in blood plasma, supporting the notion that urate was produced within the brain. However, this treatment did not prevent the loss of ascorbate and reduced glutathione in the cortex and CSF. Together with data from the literature, the results strongly suggest that xanthine oxidase is not a major cause of oxidative stress in bacterial meningitis and that urate formation due to induction of xanthine oxidoreductase in the brain may in fact represent a protective response.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Service Sector > Institute for Infectious Diseases

UniBE Contributor:

Christen, Stephan; Siegenthaler, Corinne; Leib, Stephen and Täuber, Martin G.


500 Science > 570 Life sciences; biology
600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health










Factscience Import

Date Deposited:

04 Oct 2013 14:56

Last Modified:

27 Jan 2015 04:41

Publisher DOI:


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Web of Science ID:


Uncontrolled Keywords:

Disorders of the nervous system, Infectious diseases



URI: (FactScience: 43494)

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