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      On the Biological Importance of the 3-hydroxyanthranilic Acid: Anthranilic Acid Ratio

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          Abstract

          Of the major components of the kynurenine pathway for the oxidative metabolism of tryptophan, most attention has focussed on the N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor agonist quinolinic acid, and the glutamate receptor blocker kynurenic acid. However, there is increasing evidence that the redox-active compound 3-hydroxyanthranilic acid may also have potent actions on cell function in the nervous and immune systems, and recent clinical data show marked changes in the levels of this compound, associated with changes in anthranilic acid levels, in patients with a range of neurological and other disorders including osteoporosis, chronic brain injury, Huntington’s disease, coronary heart disease, thoracic disease, stroke and depression. In most cases, there is a decrease in 3-hydroxyanthranilic acid levels and an increase in anthranilic acid levels. In this paper, we summarise the range of data obtained to date, and hypothesise that the levels of 3-hydroxyanthranilic acid or the ratio of 3-hydroxyanthranilic acid to anthranilic acid levels, may contribute to disorders with an inflammatory component, and may represent a novel marker for the assessment of inflammation and its progression. Data are presented which suggest that the ratio between these two compounds is not a simple determinant of neuronal viability. Finally, a hypothesis is presented to account for the development of the observed changes in 3-hydroxyanthranilic acid and anthranilate levels in inflammation and it is suggested that the change of the 3HAA:AA ratio, particularly in the brain, could possibly be a protective response to limit primary and secondary damage.

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          Most cited references44

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          Manipulation of brain kynurenines: glial targets, neuronal effects, and clinical opportunities.

          Degradation of the essential amino acid tryptophan along the kynurenine pathway (KP) yields several neuroactive intermediates, including the free radical generator 3-hydroxykynurenine, the excitotoxic N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor agonist quinolinic acid, and the NMDA and alpha7 nicotinic acetylcholine receptor antagonist kynurenic acid. The ambient levels of these compounds are determined by several KP enzymes, which in the brain are preferentially localized in astrocytes and microglial cells. Normal fluctuations in the brain levels of neuroactive KP intermediates might modulate several neurotransmitter systems. Impairment of KP metabolism is functionally significant and occurs in a variety of diseases that affect the brain. Pharmacological agents targeting specific KP enzymes are now available to manipulate the concentration of neuroactive KP intermediates in the brain. These compounds can be used to normalize KP defects, show remarkable efficacy in animal models of central nervous system disorders, and offer novel therapeutic opportunities.
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            Characterization of the kynurenine pathway in human neurons.

            The kynurenine pathway is a major route of L-tryptophan catabolism producing neuroactive metabolites implicated in neurodegeneration and immune tolerance. We characterized the kynurenine pathway in human neurons and the human SK-N-SH neuroblastoma cell line and found that the kynurenine pathway enzymes were variably expressed. Picolinic carboxylase was expressed only in primary and some adult neurons but not in SK-N-SH cells. Because of this difference, SK-N-SH cells were able to produce the excitotoxin quinolinic acid, whereas human neurons produced the neuroprotectant picolinic acid. The net result of kynurenine pathway induction in human neurons is therefore predicted to result in neuroprotection, immune regulation, and tumor inhibition, whereas in SK-N-SH cells, it may result in neurotoxicity, immune tolerance, and tumor promotion. This study represents the first comprehensive characterization of the kynurenine pathway in neurons and the first description of the involvement of the kynurenine pathway as a mechanism for controlling both tumor cell neurotoxicity and persistence.
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              Tryptophan metabolism and oxidative stress in patients with Huntington's disease.

              Abnormalities in the kynurenine pathway may play a role in Huntington's disease (HD). In this study, tryptophan depletion and loading were used to investigate changes in blood kynurenine pathway metabolites, as well as markers of inflammation and oxidative stress in HD patients and healthy controls. Results showed that the kynurenine : tryptophan ratio was greater in HD than controls in the baseline state and after tryptophan depletion, indicating increased indoleamine dioxygenase activity in HD. Evidence for persistent inflammation in HD was provided by elevated baseline levels of C-reactive protein, neopterin and lipid peroxidation products compared with controls. The kynurenate : kynurenine ratio suggested lower kynurenine aminotransferase activity in patients and the higher levels of kynurenine in patients at baseline, after depletion and loading, do not result in any differences in kynurenic acid levels, providing no supportive evidence for a compensatory neuroprotective role for kynurenic acid. Quinolinic acid showed wide variations in blood levels. The lipid peroxidation data indicate a high level of oxidative stress in HD patients many years after disease onset. Levels of the free radical generators 3-hydroxykynurenine and 3-hydroxyanthranilic acid were decreased in HD patients, and hence did not appear to contribute to the oxidative stress. It is concluded that patients with HD exhibit abnormal handling of tryptophan metabolism and increased oxidative stress, and that these factors could contribute to ongoing brain dysfunction.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Int J Tryptophan Res
                International Journal of Tryptophan Research : IJTR
                Libertas Academica
                1178-6469
                2010
                10 June 2010
                : 3
                : 51-59
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Epsom General Hospital, Dorking Road, Epsom, Surrey KT18 7EG, UK
                [2 ]Neuroscience and Molecular Pharmacology, Faculty of Biomedical and Life Sciences, University of Glasgow, G12 8QQ, UK
                [3 ]Royal Hospital for Neuro-disability, West Hill, Putney, London SW15 3SW, UK
                Author notes
                Article
                ijtr-3-2010-051
                10.4137/IJTR.S4282
                3195249
                22084587
                1185e447-f271-43f9-bcdb-37ad24995e39
                © the author(s), publisher and licensee Libertas Academica Ltd.

                This is an open access article. Unrestricted non-commercial use is permitted provided the original work is properly cited.

                History
                Categories
                Hypothesis – Special Issue

                Biochemistry
                3-hydroxyanthranilic acid,anthranilic acid,kynurenines,huntington’s disease,stroke,inflammation

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