2010 issue 1

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Volume 19, issue 1

Review article

Kynurenic acid – a neuroprotective substance in diseases of the central nervous system

Danuta Turzyńska1, Janusz Szyndler2, Piotr Maciejak1,2, Alicja Sobolewska1, Adam Płaźnik1,2
1. Zakład Neurochemii Instytutu Psychiatrii i Neurologii w Warszawie
2. Katedra i Zakład Farmakologii Doświadczalnej i Klinicznej w Warszawie
Postępy Psychiatrii i Neurologii 2010; 19(1): 61–72
Keywords: kynurenic acid, mechanism of action, neurodegenerative diseases, neuroprotection

Abstract

Objectives. The aims of the paper are to describe kynurenic acid, a neuroactive metabolite of tryptophan, and to outline its potential neuroprotective role in some pathological processes occurring in the CNS.
Background. Kynurenic acid (KYNA) is the only known endogenous antagonist of ionotropic receptors for excitatory aminoacids (EAA) in the mammalian brain. KYNA has a weak affinity for ionotropic EAA receptors, and a high affinity for the glycine site of the NMDA receptor complex. Moreover, kynurenic acid non-competitively blocks α7 nicotinic acetylocholine (nACh) receptors. It is suggested that KYNA is involved in the pathophysiology of some brain disorders including epilepsy, Alzheimer's disease, Down syndrome, Parkinson's disease, Huntington's disease.
Conclusion. In view of significant differences between ill and healthy people in kynurenic acid brain concentration it is conceivable that KYNA may play an important role in various CNS pathologies.

Address for correspondence:
Danuta Turzyńska
Zakład Neurochemii Instytutu Psychiatrii i Neurologii
ul. Sobieskiego 9, 02-957 Warszawa
e-mail: dturzyn@ipin.edu.pl