Introduction: The kynurenine pathway includes several neuroactive compounds, including kynurenic acid, picolinic acid, 3-hydroxykynurenine and quinolinic acid. The enzymatic cascade of the kynurenine pathway is tightly connected with the immune system, and may provide a link between the immune system and neurotransmission.
Main Areas Covered: Alterations in this cascade are associated with neurodegenerative, neurocognitive, autoimmune and psychiatric disorders, such as Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, migraine or schizophrenia.
Highlights: This review highlights the alterations in this metabolic pathway in the physiological aging process and in different disorders. A survey is also presented of therapeutic possibilities of influencing this metabolic route, which can be achieved through the use of synthetic kynurenic acid analogues, enzyme inhibitors or even nanotechnology.
Keywords: Aging, Alzheimer’s disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, glutamate excitotoxicity, Huntington’s disease, kynurenine pathway, migraine, multiple sclerosis, neurodegeneration, neuroprotection, Parkinson’s disease, picolinic acid, schizophrenia, Toxoplasma gondii.