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Hyperuricemia and urate nephropathy in urate oxidase-deficient mice

Wu, X., Wakamiya, M., Vaishnav, S., Geske, R., Montgomery, C. Jr., Jones, P., Bradley, A., Caskey, C.T.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 1994 v.91 no.2 pp. 742-746
mice, oxidoreductases, uric acid, homologous recombination, structural genes, embryonic stem cells, mutants, kidney diseases, animal models, disease models, gene targeting, site-directed mutagenesis
Urate oxidase, or uricase (EC, is a purine metabolic enzyme that catalyzes the conversion of uric acid to allantoin in most mammals except humans and certain other primates. The loss of urate oxidase in the human during primate evolution predisposes man to hyperuricemia, a metabolic disturbance that can lead to gouty arthritis and renal stones. To create a mouse model for hyperuricemia and gout, and to address the question of whether urate oxidase is essential in lower mammalian species, we have disrupted the urate oxidase gene in the mouse by homologous recombination in embryonic stem cells. Unlike the human situation, urate oxidase deficiency in mice causes pronounced hyperuricemia and urate nephropathy. More than half of the mutant mice died before 4 weeks of age, indicating that urate oxidase is essential in mice. These mutant mice may also serve as animal models for hyperuricemia and its related nephropathy in humans.