Skip to main content
×
Home
    • Aa
    • Aa

Tryptophan metabolism in the central nervous system: medical implications

  • Jon P. Ruddick (a1), Andrew K. Evans (a1), David J. Nutt (a2), Stafford L. Lightman (a1), Graham A.W. Rook (a3) and Christopher A. Lowry (a1)...
Abstract

The metabolism of the amino acid l-tryptophan is a highly regulated physiological process leading to the generation of several neuroactive compounds within the central nervous system. These include the aminergic neurotransmitter serotonin (5-hydroxytryptamine, 5-HT), products of the kynurenine pathway of tryptophan metabolism (including 3-hydroxykynurenine, 3-hydroxyanthranilic acid, quinolinic acid and kynurenic acid), the neurohormone melatonin, several neuroactive kynuramine metabolites of melatonin, and the trace amine tryptamine. The integral role of central serotonergic systems in the modulation of physiology and behaviour has been well documented since the first description of serotonergic neurons in the brain some 40 years ago. However, while the significance of the peripheral kynurenine pathway of tryptophan metabolism has also been recognised for several decades, it has only recently been appreciated that the synthesis of kynurenines within the central nervous system has important consequences for physiology and behaviour. Altered kynurenine metabolism has been implicated in the pathophysiology of conditions such as acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS)-related dementia, Huntington's disease and Alzheimer's disease. In this review we discuss the molecular mechanisms involved in regulating the metabolism of tryptophan and consider the medical implications associated with dysregulation of both serotonergic and kynurenine pathways of tryptophan metabolism.

Copyright
Corresponding author
Corresponding author: Christopher A. Lowry, Henry Wellcome Laboratories for Integrative Neuroscience and Endocrinology, University of Bristol, Dorothy Hodgkin Building, Whitson Street, Bristol, BS1 3NY, UK. Tel: +44 (0)117 331 3119; Fax: +44 (0)117 331 3120; E-mail: c.a.lowry@bristol.ac.uk
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Expert Reviews in Molecular Medicine
  • ISSN: -
  • EISSN: 1462-3994
  • URL: /core/journals/expert-reviews-in-molecular-medicine
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Metrics

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 169 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 800 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 20th October 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.