Author(s): Baran H, Hainfellner JA, Kepplinger B
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Abstract Kynurenic acid, an intermediate metabolite of L-kynurenine, is a competitive antagonist of inotropic excitatory amino acid (EAA) receptors as well as a non competitive antagonist of 7 alpha nicotine cholinergic receptors and its involvement in memory deficit and cognition impairment has been suggested. Alterations of kynurenic acid metabolism in the brain after HIV-1 (human immunodeficiency virus type-1) infection have been demonstrated. The present study evaluates the biosynthetic machinery of kynurenic acid e.g. the content of L-kynurenine and kynurenic acid, as well as the activity of enzymes synthesizing kynurenic acid, kynurenine aminotransferase I (KAT I) and kynurenine aminotransferase II (KAT II) in the frontal cortex and cerebellum of HIV-1 infected patients in relation to different types of pathology classified as follows: HIV in brain (HIV); opportunistic infection (OPP); infarction of brain (INF); malignant lymphoma of brain (LY); and glial dystrophy (GD) and of control (CO) subjects. Of all investigated pathologies the most frequent was OPP (65\%), followed by HIV (26\%), LY, INF, and GD (each 22\%, respectively). Further, 68\% of HIV-1 patients had bronchopneumonia, the highest incidence of which, at 60\%, was seen in the OPP and LY group. Kynurenic acid was increased significantly in the frontal cortex of LY (392\% of CO, P < 0.001), HIV (231\% of CO, P < 0.01) and GD (193\% of CO, P < 0.05), as well as in the cerebellum of GD (261\% of CO, P < 0.01). A significant increase of L-kynurenine was observed in the frontal cortex of LY (385\% of CO, P < 0.001) and INF (206\% of CO, P < 0.01), and in the cerebellum of GD, LY, OPP and HIV (between 177\% and 147\% of CO). The KAT I activity increased significantly in the frontal cortex of all pathological subgroups, ie OPP = 420\% > INF > LY > HIV > GD = 192\% of CO. In the cerebellum, too, all pathological subgroups showed marked increase of KAT I activity (OPP = 320\% > LY, HIV > GD > INF = 176\% of CO). On contrary, the activity of KAT II was moderately, but significantly, higher in the frontal cortex of INF and OPP; in the cerebellum of HIV, OPP and LY it was comparable to the control, while mildly reduced in INF and GD. Interestingly, normal subjects with the diagnosis of bronchopneumonia were characterized by high kynurenic acid metabolism in the brain, too. Correlation analyses between kynurenine parameters revealed association between high ratio KAT I/KAT II and increased kynurenic acid level and lower L-kynurenine in the frontal cortex and cerebellum of HIV and LY subgroups. The present study revealed a different pattern of alteration of kynurenic acid metabolism in frontal cortex and cerebellum among investigated pathological subgroups of HIV-1 infected patients. Interestingly, a marked enhancement of kynurenic acid metabolism in the brain has been found with occurrence of bronchopneumonia. This finding indicates a notable association between impaired conditions of oxygen availability and enhancement of kynurenic acid formation in the human brain. These observation(s) might have an impact on the understanding of pathological processes in the brain after HIV-1 infection involving the development of neuropsychiatric and neurological symptoms, including memory and cognition impairment.
This article was published in Int J Tryptophan Res
and referenced in International Journal of Neurorehabilitation