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Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity
Volume 2014, Article ID 646909, 22 pages
Review Article

Kynurenines with Neuroactive and Redox Properties: Relevance to Aging and Brain Diseases

1Departamento de Neuroquímica, Instituto Nacional de Neurología y Neurocirugía Manuel Velasco Suárez, S.S.A., Insurgentes Sur 3877, 14269 México, DF, Mexico
2Área de Neurociencias, Departamento de Biología de la Reproducción, Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana-Iztapalapa, 09340 México, DF, Mexico
3Laboratorio de Neuroinmunología, Instituto Nacional de Neurología y Neurocirugía Manuel Velasco Suárez, S.S.A., 14269 México, DF, Mexico
4Departamento de Biología, Facultad de Química, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, 04510 México, DF, Mexico

Received 10 October 2013; Revised 12 December 2013; Accepted 15 December 2013; Published 17 February 2014

Academic Editor: Sathyasaikumar V. Korrapati

Copyright © 2014 Jazmin Reyes Ocampo et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The kynurenine pathway (KP) is the main route of tryptophan degradation whose final product is NAD+. The metabolism of tryptophan can be altered in ageing and with neurodegenerative process, leading to decreased biosynthesis of nicotinamide. This fact is very relevant considering that tryptophan is the major source of body stores of the nicotinamide-containing NAD+ coenzymes, which is involved in almost all the bioenergetic and biosynthetic metabolism. Recently, it has been proposed that endogenous tryptophan and its metabolites can interact and/or produce reactive oxygen species in tissues and cells. This subject is of great importance due to the fact that oxidative stress, alterations in KP metabolites, energetic deficit, cell death, and inflammatory events may converge each other to enter into a feedback cycle where each one depends on the other to exert synergistic actions among them. It is worth mentioning that all these factors have been described in aging and in neurodegenerative processes; however, has so far no one established any direct link between alterations in KP and these factors. In this review, we describe each kynurenine remarking their redox properties, their effects in experimental models, their alterations in the aging process.