The kynurenine pathway (KP), the major catabolic route of tryptophan in mammals, contains several neuroactive metabolites, including kynurenic acid (KYNA) and 3-hydroxykynurenine (3-HK). KP metabolism, and especially the fate of KYNA, during pregnancy is poorly understood, yet it may play a significant role in the development of psychiatric disorders later in life. The present study was designed to investigate the prenatal features of KP metabolism in vivo, with special focus on KYNA. To this end, pregnant CD-1 mice were treated systemically with kynurenine (100 mg/kg), KYNA (10 mg/kg), or saline on embryonic day 18. As expected, administration of either kynurenine or KYNA increased KYNA levels in the maternal plasma and placenta. Maternal kynurenine treatment also raised kynurenine levels in the fetal plasma and brain, demonstrating the ability of this pivotal KP metabolite to cross the placenta and increase the levels of both KYNA and 3-HK in the fetal brain. In contrast, maternal administration of KYNA caused only a small, nonsignificant elevation in KYNA levels in fetal plasma and brain. Complementary experiments using an ex vivo placental perfusion procedure confirmed the significant transplacental transfer of kynurenine and demonstrated that only a very small fraction of maternal kynurenine is converted to KYNA in the placenta and released into the fetal compartment under physiological conditions. Jointly, these results help to clarify the contributions of the maternal circulation and the placenta to fetal KYNA in the late prenatal period.

Prenatal Dynamics of Kynurenine Pathway Metabolism in Mice: Focus on Kynurenic Acid

Beggiato S.;
2017

Abstract

The kynurenine pathway (KP), the major catabolic route of tryptophan in mammals, contains several neuroactive metabolites, including kynurenic acid (KYNA) and 3-hydroxykynurenine (3-HK). KP metabolism, and especially the fate of KYNA, during pregnancy is poorly understood, yet it may play a significant role in the development of psychiatric disorders later in life. The present study was designed to investigate the prenatal features of KP metabolism in vivo, with special focus on KYNA. To this end, pregnant CD-1 mice were treated systemically with kynurenine (100 mg/kg), KYNA (10 mg/kg), or saline on embryonic day 18. As expected, administration of either kynurenine or KYNA increased KYNA levels in the maternal plasma and placenta. Maternal kynurenine treatment also raised kynurenine levels in the fetal plasma and brain, demonstrating the ability of this pivotal KP metabolite to cross the placenta and increase the levels of both KYNA and 3-HK in the fetal brain. In contrast, maternal administration of KYNA caused only a small, nonsignificant elevation in KYNA levels in fetal plasma and brain. Complementary experiments using an ex vivo placental perfusion procedure confirmed the significant transplacental transfer of kynurenine and demonstrated that only a very small fraction of maternal kynurenine is converted to KYNA in the placenta and released into the fetal compartment under physiological conditions. Jointly, these results help to clarify the contributions of the maternal circulation and the placenta to fetal KYNA in the late prenatal period.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11564/725337
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