Kynurenine pathway metabolomics predicts and provides mechanistic insight into multiple sclerosis progression.
ABSTRACT: Activation of the kynurenine pathway (KP) of tryptophan metabolism results from chronic inflammation and is known to exacerbate progression of neurodegenerative disease. To gain insights into the links between inflammation, the KP and multiple sclerosis (MS) pathogenesis, we investigated the KP metabolomics profile of MS patients. Most significantly, we found aberrant levels of two key KP metabolites, kynurenic acid (KA) and quinolinic acid (QA). The balance between these metabolites is important as it determines overall excitotoxic activity at the N-methyl-D-Aspartate (NMDA) receptor. We also identified that serum KP metabolic signatures in patients can discriminate clinical MS subtypes with high sensitivity and specificity. A C5.0 Decision Tree classification model discriminated the clinical subtypes of MS with a sensitivity of 91%. After validation in another independent cohort, sensitivity was maintained at 85%. Collectively, our studies suggest that abnormalities in the KP may be associated with the switch from early-mild stage MS to debilitating progressive forms of MS and that analysis of KP metabolites in MS patient serum may have application as MS disease biomarkers.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Blood markers indicative of neurodegeneration (neurofilament light chain; NFL), Alzheimer's disease amyloid pathology (amyloid-β; Aβ), and neuroinflammation (kynurenine pathway; KP metabolites) have been investigated independently in neurodegenerative diseases. However, the association of these markers of neurodegeneration and AD pathology with neuroinflammation has not been investigated previously. Therefore, the current study examined whether NFL and Aβ correlate with KP metabolites in elderly individuals to provide insight on the association between blood indicators of neurodegeneration and neuroinflammation. METHODS:Correlations between KP metabolites, measured using liquid chromatography and gas chromatography coupled with mass spectrometry, and plasma NFL and Aβ concentrations, measured using single molecule array (Simoa) assays, were investigated in elderly individuals aged 65-90 years, with normal global cognition (Mini-Mental State Examination Score ≥ 26) from the Kerr Anglican Retirement Village Initiative in Ageing Health cohort. RESULTS:A positive correlation between NFL and the kynurenine to tryptophan ratio (K/T) reflecting indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase activity was observed (r = .451, p < .0001). Positive correlations were also observed between NFL and kynurenine (r = .364, p < .0005), kynurenic acid (r = .384, p < .0001), 3-hydroxykynurenine (r = .246, p = .014), anthranilic acid (r = .311, p = .002), and quinolinic acid (r = .296, p = .003). Further, significant associations were observed between plasma Aβ40 and the K/T (r = .375, p < .0005), kynurenine (r = .374, p < .0005), kynurenic acid (r = .352, p < .0005), anthranilic acid (r = .381, p < .0005), and quinolinic acid (r = .352, p < .0005). Significant associations were also observed between plasma Aβ42 and the K/T ratio (r = .215, p = .034), kynurenic acid (r = .214, p = .035), anthranilic acid (r = .278, p = .006), and quinolinic acid (r = .224, p = .027) in the cohort. On stratifying participants based on their neocortical Aβ load (NAL) status, NFL correlated with KP metabolites irrespective of NAL status; however, associations between plasma Aβ and KP metabolites were only pronounced in individuals with high NAL while associations in individuals with low NAL were nearly absent. CONCLUSIONS:The current study shows that KP metabolite changes are associated with biomarker evidence of neurodegeneration. Additionally, the association between KP metabolites and plasma Aβ seems to be NAL status dependent. Finally, the current study suggests that an association between neurodegeneration and neuroinflammation manifests in the periphery, suggesting that preventing cytoskeleton cytotoxicity by KP metabolites may have therapeutic potential.
Project description:Parkinson's disease (PD) is a complex multi-factorial neurodegenerative disorder where various altered metabolic pathways contribute to the progression of the disease. Tryptophan (TRP) is a major precursor in kynurenine pathway (KP) and it has been discussed in various in vitro studies that the metabolites quinolinic acid (QUIN) causes neurotoxicity and kynurenic acid (KYNA) acts as neuroprotectant respectively. More studies are also focused on the effects of other KP metabolites and its enzymes as it has an association with ageing and PD pathogenesis. Until now, very few studies have targeted the role of genetic mutations in abnormal KP metabolism in adverse conditions of PD. Therefore, the present review gives an updated research studies on KP in connection with PD. Moreover, the review emphasizes on the urge for the development of biomarkers and also this would be an initiative in generating an alternative therapeutic approach for PD.
Project description:Kynurenine pathway (KP) is the primary path of tryptophan (Trp) catabolism in most mammalian cells. The KP generates several bioactive catabolites, such as kynurenine (Kyn), kynurenic acid (KA), 3-hydroxykynurenine (3-HK), xanthurenic acid (XA), and 3-hydroxyanthranilic acid (3-HAA). Increased catabolite concentrations in serum are associated with several cardiovascular diseases (CVD), including heart disease, atherosclerosis, and endothelial dysfunction, as well as their risk factors, including hypertension, diabetes, obesity, and aging. The first catabolic step in KP is primarily controlled by indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase (IDO) and tryptophan 2,3-dioxygenase (TDO). Following this first step, the KP has two major branches, one branch is mediated by kynurenine 3-monooxygenase (KMO) and kynureninase (KYNU) and is responsible for the formation of 3-HK, 3-HAA, and quinolinic acid (QA); and another branch is controlled by kynurenine amino-transferase (KAT), which generates KA. Uncontrolled Trp catabolism has been demonstrated in distinct CVD, thus, understanding the underlying mechanisms by which regulates KP enzyme expression and activity is paramount. This review highlights the recent advances on the effect of KP enzyme expression and activity in different tissues on the pathological mechanisms of specific CVD, KP is an inflammatory sensor and modulator in the cardiovascular system, and KP catabolites act as the potential biomarkers for CVD initiation and progression. Moreover, the biochemical features of critical KP enzymes and principles of enzyme inhibitor development are briefly summarized, as well as the therapeutic potential of KP enzyme inhibitors against CVD is briefly discussed.
Project description:Real-time fMRI neurofeedback (rtfMRI-nf) left amygdala (LA) training is a promising intervention for major depressive disorder (MDD). We have previously proposed that rtfMRI-nf LA training may reverse depression-associated regional impairments in neuroplasticity and restore information flow within emotion-regulating neural circuits. Inflammatory cytokines as well as the neuroactive metabolites of an immunoregulatory pathway, i.e. the kynurenine pathway (KP), have previously been implicated in neuroplasticity. Therefore, in this proof-of-principle study, we investigated the association between rtfMRI-nf LA training and circulating inflammatory mediators and KP metabolites. Based on our previous work, the primary variable of interest was the ratio of the NMDA-receptor antagonist, kynurenic acid to the NMDA receptor agonist, quinolinic acid (KynA/QA), a putative neuroprotective index. We tested two main hypotheses. i. Whether rtfMRI-nf acutely modulates KynA/QA, and ii. whether baseline KynA/QA predicts response to rtfMRI-nf. Twenty-nine unmedicated participants who met DSM-5 criteria for MDD based on the Mini-International Neuropsychiatric Interview and had current depressive symptoms (Montgomery-Åsberg Depression Rating Scale (MADRS) score > 6) completed two rtfMRI-nf sessions to upregulate LA activity (Visit1 and 2), as well as a follow-up (Visit3) without rtfMRI-nf. All visits occurred at two-week intervals. At all three visits, the MADRS was administered to participants and serum samples for the quantification of inflammatory cytokines and KP metabolites were obtained. First, the longitudinal changes in the MADRS score and immune markers were tested by linear mixed effect model analysis. Further, utilizing a linear regression model, we investigated the relationship between rtfMRI-nf performance and immune markers. After two sessions of rtfMRI-nf, MADRS scores were significantly reduced (t = -4.07, p = 0.009, d = 0.56). Thirteen participants showed a ? 25% reduction in the MADRS score (the partial responder group). There was a significant effect of visit (F[2,58] = 3.17, p = 0.05) for the neuroprotective index, KynA to 3-hydroxykynurenine (3-HK), that was driven by a significant increase in KynA/3-HK between Visit1 and Visit3 (t = 2.50, p = 0.03, d = 0.38). A higher baseline level of KynA/QA (? = 5.23, p = 0.06; rho = 0.49, p = 0.02) was associated with greater ability to upregulate the LA. Finally, for exploratory purposes correlation analyses were performed between the partial responder and the non-responder groups as well as in the whole sample including all KP metabolites and cytokines. In the partial responder group, greater ability to upregulate the LA was correlated with an increase in KynA/QA after rtfMRI-nf (rho = 0.75, p = 0.03). The results are consistent with the possibility that rtfMRI-nf decreases metabolism down the so-called neurotoxic branch of the KP. Nevertheless, non-specific effects cannot be ruled out due to the lack of a sham control. Future, controlled studies are needed to determine whether the increase in KynA/3HK and KynA/QA is specific to rtfMRI-nf or whether it is a non-specific correlate of the resolution of depressive symptoms. Similarly, replication studies are needed to determine whether KynA/QA has clinical utility as a treatment response biomarker.
Project description:Breast cancer (BrCa) is the leading cause of cancer related death in women. While current diagnostic modalities provide opportunities for early medical intervention, significant proportions of breast tumours escape treatment and metastasize. Gaining increasing recognition as a factor in tumour metastasis is the local immuno-surveillance environment. Following identification of the role played by the enzyme indoleamine dioxygenase 1 (IDO1) in mediating maternal foetal tolerance, the kynurenine pathway (KP) of tryptophan metabolism has emerged as a key metabolic pathway contributing to immune escape. In inflammatory conditions activation of the KP leads to the production of several immune-modulating metabolites including kynurenine, kynurenic acid, 3-hydroxykynurenine, anthranilic acid, 3-hydroxyanthranilic acid, picolinic acid and quinolinic acid. KP over-activation was first described in BrCa patients in the early 1960s. More evidence has since emerged to suggest that the IDO1 is elevated in advanced BrCa patients and is associated with poor prognosis. Further, IDO1 positive breast tumours have a positive correlation with the density of immune suppressive Foxp3+ T regulatory cells and lymph node metastasis. The analysis of clinical microarray data in invasive BrCa compared to normal tissue showed, using two microarray databank (cBioportal and TCGA), that 86.3% and 91.4% BrCa patients have altered KP enzyme expression respectively. Collectively, these data highlight the key roles played by KP activation in BrCa, particularly in basal BrCa subtypes where expression of most KP enzymes was altered. Accordingly, the use of KP enzyme inhibitors in addition to standard chemotherapy regimens may present a viable therapeutic approach.
Project description:"Quinolinic acid (QA)", a metabolite of the kynurenine pathway (KP), is implicated as a major neurological biomarker, which causes inflammatory disorders, whereas there is an increase evidence of the role of picolinic acid (PA) in neuroinflammation. Therefore, there is an urgent need to develop new clinical test for early diagnosis of neuroinflammatory disorders. A comparison is made between three different platforms such as high performance liquid chromatography-electrospray mass spectrometry (HPLC-ESI-MS/MS), nano LC-Chip/ESI-MS/MS, as well as the use of cationic (quaternary ammonium) and anionic (sulfonated) coated capillaries in capillary electrophoresis (CE)-ESI-MS/MS. The comparison revealed that CE-ESI-MS/MS method using a quaternary ammonium coated capillary is the best method for analysis of PA and QA. A simple stacking procedure by the inclusion of acetonitrile in the artificial cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) sample was employed to improve the peak shape and sensitivity of KP metabolites in CE-ESI-MS/MS. The developed CE-ESI-MS/MS assay provided high resolution, high specificity and high sensitivity with a total analysis time including sample preparation of nearly 12 min. In addition, excellent intra-day and inter-day repeatability of migration times and peak areas of the metabolites were observed with respective relative standard deviation (RSD) of less than 2.0% and 2.5%. Somewhat broader variations in repeatability for a 3 independently prepared coated capillary (total 35 runs each) with % RSD up to 3.8% and 5.8% was observed for migration time and peak areas, respectively. Artificial CSF was used as a surrogate matrix to simultaneously generate calibration curves over a concentration range of 0.02-10 ?M for PA and 0.4-40 ?M for QA. The method was then successfully applied to analyze PA and QA in human CSF, demonstrating the potential of this CE-ESI-MS/MS method to accurately quantitate with high specificity and sensitivity.
Project description:Background: Metabolic factors in the kynurenine pathway (KP) have been widely accepted as being a major mechanism in Major Depressive Disorder (MDD). However, the effects of these metabolites on the degree and pattern of MDD are still poorly understood, partly due to the elusiveness of the level of metabolites when diagnosing depression. This study aimed to explore a novel diagnostic method analyzing peripheral blood with mass spectrometry to assess metabolites from KP in patients with MDD and Bipolar Depression (BD). Methods: Thirty-three patients with MDD, 20 patients with BD, and 23 healthy control participants were enrolled Metabolic factors of KP from plasma including tryptophan (TRP), kynurenine (KYN), kynurenic acid (KYNA), and quinolinic acid (QUIN) were analyzed by UPLC-3Q-MS, and levels compared across three groups. Correlation between HAMD scores and metabolite levels conducted. Receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve was used to determine the diagnostic value of metabolic factors in MDD. Results: Levels of KYNA, QUIN, KYNA/QUIN, and KYNA/KYN were statistically different across the three groups (P < 0.05); HAMD scores and TRP, KYN, KYNA/QUIN levels were negatively correlated in the MDD group (r = -0.633, -0.477, -0.418, P < 0.05); Accuracy of KYNA diagnosing MDD was 82.5% with the optimal diagnostic value being 15.48 ng/ml. Diagnostic accuracy was increased to 83.6% when KYNA and QUIN levels were used in combination. Conclusion: This results indicate that metabolic factors of KP play a crucial role in the occurrence and development of MDD, supporting the metabolic imbalance hypothesis of MDD. Furthermore, our study also provides a new diagnostic method to study MDD based on plasma KYNA level, and suggests that KYNA would be a potential biomarker in diagnosing depression patients.
Project description:Metabolites of the kynurenine pathway (KP) of tryptophan (TRP) degradation have been closely linked to the pathogenesis of several neurodegenerative disorders. Recent work has highlighted the therapeutic potential of inhibiting two critical regulatory enzymes in this pathway-kynurenine-3-monooxygenase (KMO) and tryptophan-2,3-dioxygenase (TDO). Much evidence indicates that the efficacy of KMO inhibition arises from normalizing an imbalance between neurotoxic [3-hydroxykynurenine (3-HK); quinolinic acid (QUIN)] and neuroprotective [kynurenic acid (KYNA)] KP metabolites. However, it is not clear if TDO inhibition is protective via a similar mechanism or if this is instead due to increased levels of TRP-the substrate of TDO. Here, we find that increased levels of KYNA relative to 3-HK are likely central to the protection conferred by TDO inhibition in a fruit fly model of Huntington's disease and that TRP treatment strongly reduces neurodegeneration by shifting KP flux toward KYNA synthesis. In fly models of Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease, we provide genetic evidence that inhibition of TDO or KMO improves locomotor performance and ameliorates shortened life span, as well as reducing neurodegeneration in Alzheimer's model flies. Critically, we find that treatment with a chemical TDO inhibitor is robustly protective in these models. Consequently, our work strongly supports targeting of the KP as a potential treatment strategy for several major neurodegenerative disorders and suggests that alterations in the levels of neuroactive KP metabolites could underlie several therapeutic benefits.
Project description:This article describes the development of a reliable CZE-ESI-MS method to simultaneously separate and quantitate three specific metabolites (3-hydroxyanthranilic acid (3-HAA), quinolinic acid (QA), and picolinic acid (PA)) of the kynurenine pathway (KP) of tryptophan catabolism. Using a covalently bonded sulfonated capillary, the parameters such as pH, type of background electrolyte, type of organic solvent, nebulizer pressure as well as both negative and positive ESI-MS modes were optimized to achieve the best Rs and S/N of three KP metabolites. The developed CZE-ESI-MS assay provided high resolution of PA/QA, high specificity, a total analysis time of 10 min with satisfactory intraday and interday repeatability of migration time and peak areas. Under optimized CZE-ESI-MS conditions, the calibration curves over a concentration range of 19-300 ?M for 3-HAA and QA, and 75-300 ?M for PA were simultaneously generated. The method was successfully applied for the first time to profile the concentrations of initial substrate, 3-HAA, and its eventual products, PA and QA, formed in the complex multienzyme system. As the ratio of two enzymes, 3-hydroxyanthranilate 3,4-dioxygenase (HAO) and ?-amino-?-carboxymuconate-?-semialdehyde decarboxylase (ACMSD) decreases, the concentration of QA approaches essentially zero indicating that all ACMS formed by the action of HAO is consumed by ACMSD rather than its spontaneous decay to QA.
Project description:Reductions in gray matter volume of the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC), especially the rostral and subgenual anterior cingulate cortex (rACC, sgACC) are a widely reported finding in major depressive disorder (MDD). Inflammatory mediators, which are elevated in a subgroup of patients with MDD, activate the kynurenine metabolic pathway and increase production of neuroactive metabolites such as kynurenic acid (KynA), 3-hydroxykynurenine (3HK) and quinolinic acid (QA) which influence neuroplasticity. It is not known whether the alterations in brain structure and function observed in major depressive disorders are due to the direct effect of inflammatory mediators or the effects of neurotoxic kynurenine metabolites. Here, using partial posterior predictive distribution mediation analysis, we tested whether the serum concentrations of kynurenine pathway metabolites mediated reductions in cortical thickness in mPFC regions in MDD. Further, we tested whether any association between C-reactive protein (CRP) and cortical thickness would be mediated by kynurenine pathway metabolites. Seventy-three unmedicated subjects who met DSM-IV-TR criteria for MDD and 91 healthy controls (HC) completed MRI scanning using a pulse sequence optimized for tissue contrast resolution. Automated cortical parcellation was performed using the PALS-B12 Brodmann area atlas as implemented in FreeSurfer in order to compare the cortical thickness and cortical area of six PFC regions: Brodmann areas (BA) 9, 10, 11, 24, 25, and 32. Serum concentrations of kynurenine pathway metabolites were determined by high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) with tandem mass spectrometry (MS/MS) detection, while high-sensitivity CRP concentration was measured immunoturbidimetrically. Compared with HCs, the MDD group showed a reduction in cortical thickness of the right BA24 (p<0.01) and BA32 (p<0.05) regions and MDD patients with a greater number of depressive episodes displayed thinner cortex in BA32 (p<0.05). Consistent with our previous findings in an overlapping sample, the KynA/3HK ratio and the log KynA/QA were reduced in the MDD group relative to the HC group (p's<0.05) and symptoms of anhedonia were negatively correlated with log KynA/QA in the MDD group (p<0.05). Both KynA/3HK and log KynA/QA at least partially mediated the relationship between diagnosis and cortical thickness of right BA32 (p's<0.05). CRP was inversely associated with BA32 thickness (p<0.01) and KynA/3HK partially mediated the relationship between CRP and the thickness of right BA32 (p<0.05). The results raise the possibility that the relative imbalance between KynA and neurotoxic kynurenine metabolites may partially explain the reductions in mPFC thickness observed in MDD, and further that these changes are more strongly linked to the putative effects of neuroactive kynurenine metabolites than those of inflammatory mediators.