• David Kanel
  • Barry Bresnihan
Part of the Progress in Inflammation Research book series (PIR)


Azathioprine is a synthetic purine analogue — the 1-methyl-4-nitro-5-imidazolyl derivative of thioguanine. The principal metabolite of azathioprine is 6-mercaptopurine and this is metabolised by hypoxanthine guanine phosphoribosyl transferase (HGPRT) to produce the active metabolites thioinosinic and thioguanylic acid. These metabolites inhibit intracellular function by interfering with adenine and guanine ribonucleotide production through suppression of inosinic acid synthesis [1]. These effects result in downregulation of actively proliferating cells with a particular effect on bone marrow.


Rheumatoid Arthritis Xanthine Oxidase TPMT Activity Established Rheumatoid Arthritis Hypoxanthine Guanine Phosphoribosyl Transferase 
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Copyright information

© Birkhäuser Verlag Basel/Switzerland 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • David Kanel
    • 1
  • Barry Bresnihan
    • 2
  1. 1.School of Clinical Medical Sciences (Rheumatology)University of Newcastle, Framlington PlaceNewcastle upon TyneUK
  2. 2.Department of RheumatologySt. Vincent’s University HospitalDublinIreland

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