Novartis Foundation symposium

Ethyl pyruvate: a novel treatment for sepsis.

PMID 17380793


Ethyl pyruvate (EP), a simple aliphatic ester derived from pyruvic acid, improves survival and ameliorates organ system dysfunction in mice with peritonitis induced by caecal ligation and perforation, even when treatment is started as late as 12-24 hours after the onset of sepsis. In studies using lipopolysaccharide-stimulated RAW 264.7 murine macrophage like cells, EP inhibits activation of the pro-inflammatory transcription factor, NF-kappaB, and down regulates secretion of a number of pro-inflammatory cytokines, such as tumour necrosis factor (TNF). In this reductionist in vitro system, EP also blocks secretion of the late-appearing pro inflammatory cytokine-like molecule, high mobility group box 1 (HMGB1). In murine models of endotoxaemia or sepsis, treatment with EP decreases circulating levels of TNF and HMGB1. While the molecular events responsible for the salutary effects of EP remain to be elucidated, one mechanism may involve covalent modification of a critical thiol residue in the p65 component of NF-kappaB. EP warrants evaluation as a therapeutic agent for the treatment of sepsis in humans.

Related Materials