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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Regulation of the kynurenine metabolic pathway by interferon-gamma in murine cloned macrophages and microglial cells.

Several pieces of evidence suggest a major role for brain macrophages in the overproduction of neuroactive kynurenines, including quinolinic acid, in brain inflammatory conditions. In the present work, the regulation of kynurenine pathway enzymes by interferon-gamma ( IFN-gamma) was studied in immortalized murine macrophages ( MT2) and microglial (N11) cells. In both cell lines, IFN-gamma induced the expression of indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase ( IDO) activity. Whereas tumor necrosis factor-alpha did not affect enzyme induction by IFN-gamma, lipopolysaccharide modulated IDO activity differently in the two IFN-gamma-activated cell lines, causing a reduction of IDO expression in MT2 cells and an enhancement of IDO activity in N11 cells. Kynurenine aminotransferase, kynurenine 3-hydroxylase, and 3-hydroxyanthranilic acid dioxygenase appeared to be constitutively expressed in both cell lines. Kynurenine 3-hydroxylase activity was stimulated by IFN-gamma. It was notable that basal kynureninase activity was much higher in MT2 macrophages than in N11 microglial cells. In addition, IFN-gamma markedly stimulated the activity of this enzyme only in MT2 cells. IFN-gamma-treated MT2 cells, but not N11 cells, were able to produce detectable amounts of radiolabeled 3-hydroxyanthranilic and quinolinic acids from L-[5-3H] tryptophan. These results support the notion that activated invading macrophages may constitute one of the major sources of cerebral quinolinic acid during inflammation.[1]


  1. Regulation of the kynurenine metabolic pathway by interferon-gamma in murine cloned macrophages and microglial cells. Alberati-Giani, D., Ricciardi-Castagnoli, P., Köhler, C., Cesura, A.M. J. Neurochem. (1996) [Pubmed]
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