Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity (2014-01-01)

Kynurenines with Neuroactive and Redox Properties: Relevance to Aging and Brain Diseases

  • Jazmin Reyes Ocampo,
  • Rafael Lugo Huitrón,
  • Dinora González-Esquivel,
  • Perla Ugalde-Muñiz,
  • Anabel Jiménez-Anguiano,
  • Benjamín Pineda,
  • José Pedraza-Chaverri,
  • Camilo Ríos,
  • Verónica Pérez de la Cruz

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 2014


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The kynurenine pathway (KP) is the main route of tryptophan degradation whose final product is NAD+. The metabolism of tryptophan can be altered in ageing and with neurodegenerative process, leading to decreased biosynthesis of nicotinamide. This fact is very relevant considering that tryptophan is the major source of body stores of the nicotinamide-containing NAD+ coenzymes, which is involved in almost all the bioenergetic and biosynthetic metabolism. Recently, it has been proposed that endogenous tryptophan and its metabolites can interact and/or produce reactive oxygen species in tissues and cells. This subject is of great importance due to the fact that oxidative stress, alterations in KP metabolites, energetic deficit, cell death, and inflammatory events may converge each other to enter into a feedback cycle where each one depends on the other to exert synergistic actions among them. It is worth mentioning that all these factors have been described in aging and in neurodegenerative processes; however, has so far no one established any direct link between alterations in KP and these factors. In this review, we describe each kynurenine remarking their redox properties, their effects in experimental models, their alterations in the aging process.