Ethyl pyruvate: a novel treatment for sepsis and shock

Minerva Anestesiol. 2004 May;70(5):365-71.


Pyruvic acid is a simple 3 carbon a-keto-monocarboxylic acid. Recognition that pyruvate is an effective scavenger of reactive oxygen species (ROS) prompted investigators to use it as therapeutic agent for various pathological conditions that are thought to be mediated by redox dependent phenomena, like myocardial, intestinal or hepatic ischemia/reperfusion-induced injury. Ethyl Pyruvate showed to be more effective and safer than equimolar doses of sodium pyruvate. Ethyl Pyruvate showed to have anti-inflammatory effects. In animal models Ethyl Pyruvate improved hyperpermeability and bacterial translocation due to endotoxemia and improved the development of renal disfunction as well as some of the morphological findings of kidney injury. The pharmacological basis for the anti-inflammatory effects of EP remains to be explained. It is plausible that EP mediates suppression of NF-KB activation and secretion of NO and of pro-inflammatory cytokines.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Pyruvates / therapeutic use*
  • Sepsis / drug therapy*
  • Shock, Septic / drug therapy*


  • Pyruvates
  • ethyl pyruvate