Expression of tryptophan 2,3-dioxygenase and production of kynurenine pathway metabolites in triple transgenic mice and human Alzheimer's disease brain

Wei Wu, Joseph Nicolazzo, Li Wen, Roger Chung, Roger Stankovic, Shisan Bao, Chai K Lim, Bruce J Brew, Karen M Cullen, Gilles J Guillemin

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Abstract

To assess the role of the kynurenine pathway in the pathology of Alzheimer s disease (AD), the expression and localization of key components of the kynurenine pathway including the key regulatory enzyme tryptophan 2,3 dioxygenase (TDO), and the metabolites tryptophan, kynurenine, kynurenic acid, quinolinic acid and picolinic acid were assessed in different brain regions of triple transgenic AD mice. The expression and cell distribution of TDO and quinolinic acid, and their colocalization with neurofibrillary tangles and senile beta amyloid deposition were also determined in hippocampal sections from human AD brains. The expression of TDO mRNA was significantly increased in the cerebellum of AD mouse brain. Immunohistochemistry demonstrated that the density of TDO immuno-positive cells was significantly higher in the AD mice. The production of the excitotoxin quinolinic acid strongly increased in the hippocampus in a progressive and age-dependent manner in AD mice. Significantly higher TDO and indoleamine 2,3 dioxygenase 1 immunoreactivity was observed in the hippocampus of AD patients. Furthermore, TDO co-localizes with quinolinic acid, neurofibrillary tangles-tau and amyloid deposits in the hippocampus of AD. These results show that the kynurenine pathway is over-activated in AD mice. This is the first report demonstrating that TDO is highly expressed in the brains of AD mice and in AD patients, suggesting that TDO-mediated activation of the kynurenine pathway could be involved in neurofibrillary tangles formation and associated with senile plaque. Our study adds to the evidence that the kynurenine pathway may play important roles in the neurodegenerative processes of AD.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere59749
Number of pages11
JournalPLoS ONE
Volume8
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2013

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