The Effect of Tryptophan 2,3-Dioxygenase Inhibition on Kynurenine Metabolism and Cognitive Function in the APP23 Mouse Model of Alzheimer's Disease

F. J. H. Sorgdrager, C. P. van Der Ley, M. van Faassen, E. Calus, E. A. Nollen, I. P. Kema, D. van Dam, P. P. De Deyn*

*Corresponding author for this work

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Alzheimer's disease (AD) is associated with progressive endogenous neurotoxicity and hampered inflammatory regulation. The kynurenine (Kyn) pathway, which is controlled by tryptophan 2,3-dioxygenase (TDO), produces neuroactive and anti-inflammatory metabolites. Age-related Kyn pathway activation might contribute to AD pathology in humans, and inhibition of TDO was found to reduce AD-related cellular toxicity and behavioral deficits in animal models. To further explore the effect of aging on the Kyn pathway in the context of AD, we analyzed Kyn metabolite profiles in serum and brain tissue of the APP23 amyloidosis mouse model. We found that aging had genotype-independent effects on Kyn metabolite profiles in serum, cortex, hippocampus and cerebellum, whereas serum concentrations of many Kyn metabolites were reduced in APP23 mice. Next, to further establish the role of TDO in AD-related behavioral deficits, we investigated the effect of long-term pharmacological TDO inhibition on cognitive performance in APP23 mice. Our results indicated that TDO inhibition reversed recognition memory deficits without producing measurable changes in cerebral Kyn metabolites. TDO inhibition did not affect spatial learning and memory or anxiety-related behavior. These data indicate that age-related Kyn pathway activation is not specific for humans and could represent a cross-species phenotype of aging. These data warrant further investigation on the role of peripheral Kyn pathway disturbances and cerebral TDO activity in AD pathophysiology.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1178646920972657
Number of pages10
JournalInternational journal of tryptophan research
Publication statusPublished - Dec-2020


  • Tryptophan
  • Kynurenine
  • Alzheimer
  • APP23
  • tryptophan 2
  • 3-dioxygenase
  • TDO
  • aging

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