Int J Med Sci 2018; 15(10):1072-1082. doi:10.7150/ijms.25799 This issue

Research Paper

Clinical and Basic Evaluation of the Prognostic Value of Uric Acid in Traumatic Brain Injury

Han Liu, Junchi He, Jianjun Zhong, Hongrong Zhang, Zhaosi Zhang, Liu Liu, Zhijian Huang, Yue Wu, Li Jiang, Zongduo Guo, Rui Xu, Weina Chai, Gang Huo, Xiaochuan Sun, Chongjie Cheng

Department of Neurosurgery, the First Affiliated Hospital of Chongqing Medical University, Chongqing, China

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Liu H, He J, Zhong J, Zhang H, Zhang Z, Liu L, Huang Z, Wu Y, Jiang L, Guo Z, Xu R, Chai W, Huo G, Sun X, Cheng C. Clinical and Basic Evaluation of the Prognostic Value of Uric Acid in Traumatic Brain Injury. Int J Med Sci 2018; 15(10):1072-1082. doi:10.7150/ijms.25799. Available from

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Background: As a major antioxidant in serum, uric acid (UA) was once considered only as the leading cause of gout; however, recent studies have validated its neuroprotective role in ischemic stroke. Because the potential protective effects of UA in traumatic brain injury (TBI) remain largely unknown, this study investigated the role of UA in TBI in both clinical patients and experimental animals.

Methods: In TBI patients, serum UA concentrations were measured within 3 days after injury. Clinical outcomes at discharge were classified according to the Glasgow Outcome Scale: good outcome (4-5) and poor outcome (1-3). Risk factors for good outcome were identified via backward logistic regression analysis. For the animal study, a controlled cortical impact (CCI) injury model was established in mice. These mice were given UA at different doses intraperitoneally, and subsequent UA concentrations in mouse serum and brain tissue were determined. Neurological function, oxidative stress, inflammatory response, neuronal maintenance, cerebral blood flow, and lesion size were also assessed.

Results: The serum UA level was significantly lower in TBI patients who had a good outcome (P<0.01), and low serum UA was an independent predictor of good outcome after TBI (P<0.01; odds ratio, 0.023; 95% confidence interval, 0.006-0.082). Consistently, decreased levels of serum UA were observed in both TBI patients and CCI animals (P<0.05), whereas the UA concentration was increased in CCI brain tissue (P<0.05). Administration of UA further increased the UA level in brain tissue as compared to that in control animals (P<0.05). Among the different doses administered, 16 mg/kg UA improved sensorimotor functional recovery, spatial learning, and memory in CCI mice (P<0.05). Moreover, oxidative stress and the inflammatory response were inhibited by UA treatment (P<0.05). UA treatment also improved neuronal maintenance and cortical blood flow (P<0.05) but not lesion size (P>0.05).

Conclusions: UA acted to attenuate neuronal loss, cerebral perfusion impairment and neurological deficits in TBI mice through suppression of neuronal and vascular oxidative stress. Following TBI, active antioxidant defense in the brain may result in consumption of UA in the serum, and thus, a decreased serum UA level could be predictive of good clinical recovery.

Keywords: UA (uric acid), oxidative stress, inflammation, traumatic brain injury