Background: Adenosine deaminase (ADA) is a key enzyme that catalyzes the deamination of adenosine into inosine, which eventually decomposes into uric acid (UA). A body of papers have reported that adenosine and UA are closely related to cerebrovascular events. However, the association between serum ADA activity and acute cerebral infarction (ACI) remains unclear.

Methods: 7913 subjects were enrolled, including 3968 ACI patients and 3945 controls, in this study. An automatic biochemistry analyzer was used to determine serum activity.

Results: Serum ADA activity was found that was significantly decreased in patients with ACI (10.10 ± 3.72 U/L) compared to those without ACI (11.07 ± 2.85 U/L, p < 0.001). After Logistic regression analysis, ADA concentrations were negatively correlated with ACI (OR = 1.161, 95% CI: 1.140–1.183, p < 0.001). Smoking and alcohol consumption decreased serum ADA concentrations in patients with ACI, whereas diabetes and hypertension had the opposite effect.

Conclusions: Serum ADA concentrations in patients with ACI are markedly decreased, suggesting that the decreased ADA concentrations may be involved in the pathogenesis of ACI. We hypothesized that decreased ADA activity may be an adaptive mechanism to maintain adenosine levels and protect against ischemic brain injury.