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Kynurenic acid (KYNA) is a product of the normal metabolism of amino acid L-tryptophan. It has been shown that kynurenic acid possesses neuroactive activity. It acts as an antiexcitotoxic and anticonvulsant, most likely through acting as an antagonist at excitatory amino acid receptors. Because of this activity, it may influence important neurophysiologic and neuropathologic processes. As a result, kynurenic acid has been considered for use in therapy in certain neurobiological disorders. Conversely, increased levels of kynurenic acid have also been linked to certain pathological conditions.
Additional recommended knowledge
Kynurenic acid was discovered in 1853 by the German chemist Justus von Liebig in dog urine.
It is formed from L-kynurenine in a reaction catalyzed by the enzyme kynurenine—oxoglutarate transaminase.
Mechanism of action
KYNA was found to act on three receptors:
Role in disease
High levels of kynurenic acid have been identified in patients suffering from tick-borne encephalitis, schizophrenia and HIV-related illnesses. In all these situations increased levels were associated with confusion and psychotic symptoms. Kynurenic acid acts in the brain as a glycine-site NMDAr antagonist, key in glutamatergic neurotransmission system, which is thought to be involved in the pathophysiology and pathogenesis of schizophrenia.
A kynurenic acid hypothesis of schizophrenia has been proposed in 2007, based on its action on midbrain dopamine activity and NMDArs, thus linking dopamine hypothesis of schizophrenia with the glutamate hypothesis of the disease.
High levels of kynurenic acid have been identified in human urine in certain metabolic disorders, such as marked pyridoxine deficiency and deficiency/absence of kynureninase.
|This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Kynurenic_acid". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.|