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

2-Oxoacids regulate kynurenic acid production in the rat brain: studies in vitro and in vivo.

This study was designed to examine the role of 2-oxoacids in the enzymatic transamination of L-kynurenine to the excitatory amino acid receptor antagonist, kynurenate, in the rat brain. In brain tissue slices incubated in Krebs-Ringer buffer with a physiological concentration of L-kynurenine, pyruvate, and several other straight- and branched-chain 2-oxoacids, substantially restored basal kynurenate production in a dose-dependent manner without increasing the intracellular concentration of L-kynurenine. All 2-oxoacids tested also reversed or attenuated the hypoglycemia-induced decrease in kynurenate synthesis, but only pyruvate and oxaloacetate also substantially restored intracellular L-kynurenine accumulation. Thus, 2-oxoacids increase kynurenate formation in the brain primarily by functioning as co-substrates of the transamination reaction. This was supported further by the fact that the nonspecific kynurenine aminotransferase inhibitors (aminooxy)acetic acid and dichlorovinylcysteine prevented the effect of pyruvate on kynurenate production in a dose-dependent manner. Moreover, all 2-oxoacids tested attenuated or prevented the effects of veratridine, quisqualate, or L-alpha-aminoadipate, which reduce the transamination of L-kynurenine to kynurenate. Finally, dose-dependent increases in extracellular kynurenate levels in response to an intracerebral perfusion with pyruvate or alpha-ketoisocaproate were demonstrated by in vivo microdialysis. Taken together, these data show that 2-oxoacids can directly augment the de novo production of kynurenate in several areas of the rat brain. 2-Oxoacids may therefore provide a novel pharmacological approach for the manipulation of excitatory amino acid receptor function and dysfunction.[1]


  1. 2-Oxoacids regulate kynurenic acid production in the rat brain: studies in vitro and in vivo. Hodgkins, P.S., Wu, H.Q., Zielke, H.R., Schwarcz, R. J. Neurochem. (1999) [Pubmed]
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