The kynurenine pathway is the main pathway for tryptophan metabolism. It generates compounds that can modulate activity at glutamate receptors and possibly nicotinic receptors, in addition to some as-yet-unidentified sites. The pathway is in a unique position to regulate other aspects of the metabolism of tryptophan to neuroactive compounds, and also seems to be a key factor in the communication between the nervous and immune systems. It also has potentially important roles in the regulation of cell proliferation and tissue function in the periphery. As a result, the pathway presents a multitude of potential sites for drug discovery in neuroscience, oncology and visceral pathology.