Mice with adenine phosphoribosyltransferase deficiency develop fatal 2,8-dihydroxyadenine lithiasis

Nicola J. Redhead, Jim Selfridge, Chao-Liang Wu, David W. Melton

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22 Citations (Scopus)


Deficiencies in different steps of purine metabolism give rise to a number of human inherited disorders. Lesch-Nyhan syndrome is a severe neurological disorder, caused by a deficiency in the purine salvage enzyme hypoxanthine phosphoribosyltransferase (HPRT). HPRT-deficient mice have been generated, but have proved to be an unsuccessful model of the human disease. We have suggested that this may be due to a greater dependency in rodents on the other purine salvage enzyme, adenine phosphoribosyltransferase (APRT). We have generated an APRT-deficient mouse line by gene targeting, with a phenotype that closely resembled the symptoms of APRT deficiency in man. APRT null mice were viable, but 90% died prematurely before 6 months of age, displaying highly abnormal kidney morphology, with pathology characteristic of tubule obstruction. These mice have elevated urinary levels of adenine and 2,8-dihydroxyadenine, a highly insoluble adenine derivative, plus birefringent crystalline deposits and calculi within tubules throughout the kidney. A standard therapy for APRT-deficient human patients is the administration of the xanthine oxidase inhibitor, allopurinol. This has proved an effective therapy for APRT null mice, preventing accumulation of 2,8-dihydroxyadenine and much of the resultant renal obstruction, allowing us to establish a breeding line. We believe that these mice should provide a useful model for further study of APRT deficiency in humans. Furthermore, by generating APRT and HPRT double mutants, we will be able to test our hypothesis that both genes must be inactivated in mice before a model for Lesch-Nyhan syndrome can be obtained.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1491-1502
Number of pages12
JournalHuman Gene Therapy
Issue number13
Publication statusPublished - 1996 Aug 20

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics


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