Author(s): Kepplinger B, Baran H, Kainz A, FerrazLeite H, Newcombe J,
Abstract Share this page
Abstract Kynurenic acid (KYNA) is an endogenous metabolite in the kynurenine pathway of tryptophan degradation and is an antagonist at the glycine site of the N-methyl-D-aspartate as well as at the alpha 7 nicotinic cholinergic receptors. In the brain tissue KYNA is synthesised from L-kynurenine by kynurenine aminotransferases (KAT) I and II. A host of immune mediators influence tryptophan degradation. In the present study, the levels of KYNA in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and serum in a group of human subjects aged between 25 and 74 years were determined by using a high performance liquid chromatography method. In CSF and serum KAT I and II activities were investigated by radioenzymatic assay, and the levels of beta(2)-microglobulin, a marker for cellular immune activation, were determined by ELISA. The correlations between neurochemical and biological parameters were evaluated. Two subject groups with significantly different ages, i.e. <50 years and >50 years, p < 0.001, showed statistically significantly different CSF KYNA levels, i.e. 2.84 +/- 0.16 fmol/microl vs. 4.09 +/- 0.14 fmol/microl, p < 0.001, respectively; but this difference was not seen in serum samples. Interestingly, KYNA is synthesised in CSF principally by KAT I and not KAT II, however no relationship was found between enzyme activity and ageing. A positive relationship between CSF KYNA levels and age of subjects indicates a 95\% probability of elevated CSF KYNA with ageing (R = 0.6639, p = 0.0001). KYNA levels significantly correlated with IgG and beta(2)-microglobulin levels (R = 0.5244, p = 0.0049; R = 0.4253, p = 0.043, respectively). No correlation was found between other biological parameters in CSF or serum. In summary, a positive relationship between the CSF KYNA level and ageing was found, and the data would suggest age-dependent increase of kynurenine metabolism in the CNS. An enhancement of CSF IgG and beta(2)-microglobulin levels would suggest an activation of the immune system during ageing. Increased KYNA metabolism may be involved in the hypofunction of the glutamatergic and/or nicotinic cholinergic neurotransmission in the ageing CNS. Copyright 2005 S. Karger AG, Basel.
This article was published in Neurosignals
and referenced in International Journal of Neurorehabilitation