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Various pathologies of the central nervous system (CNS) are accompanied by alterations in tryptophan metabolism. The main metabolic route of tryptophan degradation is the kynurenine pathway; its metabolites are responsible for a broad spectrum of effects, including the endogenous regulation of neuronal excitability and the initiation of immune tolerance. This Review highlights the involvement of the kynurenine system in the pathology of neurodegenerative disorders, pain syndromes and autoimmune diseases through a detailed discussion of its potential implications in Huntington's disease, migraine and multiple sclerosis. The most effective preclinical drug candidates are discussed and attention is paid to currently under-investigated roles of the kynurenine pathway in the CNS, where modulation of kynurenine metabolism might be of therapeutic value.


László Vécsei, Levente Szalárdy, Ferenc Fülöp, József Toldi. Kynurenines in the CNS: recent advances and new questions. Nature reviews. Drug discovery. 2013 Jan;12(1):64-82

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PMID: 23237916

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