Under physiological conditions the brain, via the purine salvage pathway, reuses the preformed purine bases hypoxanthine, derived from ATP degradation, and adenine (Ade), derived from polyamine synthesis, to restore its ATP pool. However, the massive degradation of ATP during ischemia, although providing valuable neuroprotective adenosine, results in the accumulation and loss of diffusible purine metabolites and thereby leads to a protracted reduction in the post-ischemic ATP pool size. In vivo, this may both limit the ability to deploy ATP-dependent reparative mechanisms and reduce the subsequent availability of adenosine, whilst in brain slices results in tissue with substantially lower levels of ATP than in vivo. In the present review, we describe the mechanisms by which brain tissue replenishes its ATP, how this can be improved with the clinically tolerated chemicals d-ribose and adenine, and the functional, and potential therapeutic, implications of doing so.
- Purine salvage
- Traumatic brain injury