Biochemical studies on AIDS dementia complex--possible contribution of quinolinic acid during brain damage

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AIDS dementia complex (ADC) is a complex, progressive neuropsychiatric syndrome seen in 60-70% of the patients with AIDS. The structural and functional changes associated with ADC may be the result of a variety of indirect mechanisms mediated via activated brain cells or/and virus that produce neurotoxins including N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor agonist (eg, quinolinic acid, glutamate), cytokines, gp 120 and nitric oxide. The level of the neurotoxin and kynurenine pathway metabolite, quinolinic acid, is increased in the brain and CSF of HIV-1-infected patients, and is correlated with quantitative measures of neurologic impairment. Importantly, increased CSF and brain levels of QUIN also occur in other inflammatory neurologic diseases (bacterial, viral, fungal and parasitic infections, meningitis, autoimmune diseases and septicemia), independent of HIV-1 infection. Therefore, QUIN and other neuroactive kynurenine pathway metabolites may be final common mediators of neurologic dysfunction in a broad spectrum of inflammatory neurologic diseases. Conversion of L-tryptophan to QUIN has also been demonstrated in vitro in both brain tissue following macrophage infiltration, and in macrophages stimulated by interferon-gamma or HIV infection. Macrophages in vitro have a high capacity to synthesize QUIN following exposure to interferon-gamma, tumor necrosis factor-alpha, IL-1 beta and IL-6, compared to cells derived from other tissues. Notably, the concentrations achieved in the macrophage incubates exceeded the levels found in the CNS of HIV-1-infected patients, and exceeded the concentrations shown to be neurotoxic in vitro. We hypothesize that increased kynurenine pathway metabolism following inflammation reflects the presence of macrophages and other reactive cell populations at the site of brain infection. Strategies to attenuate the neurotoxic effects of kynurenines, such as inhibitors of kynurenine pathway metabolism and cytokine antibodies may offer new approaches to therapy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)891-901
Number of pages11
JournalRinsho byori. The Japanese journal of clinical pathology
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 1995
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Medicine


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