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Sustained immune activation leads to cognitive dysfunctions, depression-, and anxiety-like behaviours in humans and rodents. It is modelled by administration of lipopolysaccharides (LPS) to induce expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines that then activate indoleamine 2,3 dioxygenase (IDO1), the rate-limiting enzyme in the kynurenine pathway of tryptophan metabolism. Here, we ask whether chronic IDO1 inhibition by 1-methyl-tryptophan (1-MT, added at 2 g/l in the drinking water) or chronic inhibition of tryptophan 2,3 dioxygenase (TDO2), another enzyme capable of converting tryptophan to kynurenine, by 680C91 (15 mg/kg per os), can rescue LPS-induced (0.83-mg/kg intraperitoneally) anxiety and cognitive deficits. We also investigate the acute effects of 680C91 on serotonergic, dopaminergic, and kynurenine pathway metabolites.
We examined LPS-induced deficits in trace fear conditioning and anxiety in the light–dark box and elevated plus maze (EPM) in group-housed C57Bl6/N mice. Kynurenine pathway metabolites and monoamine levels were measured via high-performance liquid chromatography.
Chronic blockade of IDO1 with 1-MT did not rescue cognitive deficits or abrogate the anxiogenic behaviour caused by LPS despite a decrease in the brain kynurenine:tryptophan ratio. However, 1-MT by itself demonstrated anxiolytic properties in the EPM. Acute and chronic inhibition of TDO2 elevated brain levels of tryptophan, while chronic inhibition of TDO2 was unsuccessful in rescuing cognitive deficits and abrogating the anxiety caused by LPS.
In line with previous studies, we show that LPS administration induces anxiety and cognitive dysfunctions in mice that however were not reversed by chronic blockade of IDO1 or TDO2 at the doses used.
There is a growing interest in the role of kynurenine pathway and tryptophan metabolites in the pathophysiology of depression. In the present study, the metabolism of tryptophan along the kynurenine pathway was analysed in a rat model of depression.
Kynurenic acid (KYNA) and 3-hydroxykynurenine (3-HK) were measured by high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) in prefrontal cortex (PFC) and frontal cortex (FC) in a rat model of depression, the Flinders Sensitive Line (FSL) and their controls, the Flinders Resistant Line (FRL) rats. In addition, KYNA was also measured in hippocampus, striatum and cerebellum.
KYNA levels were reduced in the PFC of FSL rats compared with FRL rats, but did not differ with regard to the FC, hippocampus, striatum or cerebellum. 3-HK levels in PFC and FC, representing the activity of the microglial branch of the kynurenine pathway, did not differ between the FSL and FRL strains.
Our results suggest an imbalanced metabolism of the kynurenine pathway in the PFC of FSL rats.
The tryptophan metabolite kynurenic acid (KYNA) is an endogenous glutamate/nicotinic receptor antagonist. Previous studies have shown that the concentration of the compound is increased in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) of patients with schizophrenia. Furthermore, it has been found that the CSF concentration of KYNA is positively correlated to CSF concentrations of the monoamine metabolites homovanillic acid (HVA) and 5-hydroxy indoleacetic acid (5-HIAA) in healthy control subjects.
To study the correlations between KYNA and the monoamine metabolites HVA, 5-HIAA and 4-hydroxy-3-methoxyphenylglycol (HMPG) in CSF of male patients (n= 53, ranging from 20 to 48 years of age) with verified schizophrenia.
CSF was obtained by lumbar puncture, and KYNA analysis was performed with an isocratic reversed-phase high-performance liquid chromatography system connected to a fluorescence detector. HVA, 5-HIAA and HMPG concentrations were measured by mass fragmentography with deuterium-labelled internal standards.
Positive intercorrelations were found between CSF KYNA, HVA and 5-HIAA, while CSF content of HMPG did not correlate to KYNA or any of the monoamine metabolites in CSF.
The results of this study suggest that increased KYNA formation is associated with an increased dopamine and serotonin turnover in male patients with schizophrenia.
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