Aeinehband S, Brenner P, Ståhl S, Bhat M, Fidock MD, Khademi M, Olsson T, Engberg G, Jokinen J, Erhardt S, Piehl F
Brain Behav. Immun. 51 (-) 47-55 [2016-01-00; online 2015-07-17]
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic inflammatory and neurodegenerative disease of the central nervous system, with a high rate of neurocognitive symptoms for which the molecular background is still uncertain. There is accumulating evidence for dysregulation of the kynurenine pathway (KP) in different psychiatric and neurodegenerative conditions. We here report the first comprehensive analysis of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) kynurenine metabolites in MS patients of different disease stages and in relation to neurocognitive symptoms. Levels of tryptophan (TRP), kynurenine (KYN), kynurenic acid (KYNA) and quinolinic acid (QUIN) were determined with liquid chromatography mass spectrometry in cell-free CSF. At the group level MS patients (cohort 1; n=71) did not differ in absolute levels of TRP, KYN, KYNA or QUIN as compared to non-inflammatory neurological disease controls (n=20). Stratification of patients into different disease courses revealed that both absolute QUIN levels and the QUIN/KYN ratio were increased in relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS) patients in relapse. Interestingly, secondary progressive MS (SPMS) displayed a trend for lower TRP and KYNA, while primary progressive (PPMS) patients displayed increased levels of all metabolites, similar to a group of inflammatory neurological disease controls (n=13). In the second cohort (n=48), MS patients with active disease and short disease duration were prospectively evaluated for neuropsychiatric symptoms. In a supervised multivariate analysis using orthogonal projection to latent structures (OPLS-DA) depressed patients displayed higher KYNA/TRP and KYN/TRP ratios, mainly due to low TRP levels. Still, this model had low predictive value and could not completely separate the clinically depressed patients from the non-depressed MS patients. No correlation was evident for other neurocognitive measures. Taken together these results demonstrate that clinical disease activity and differences in disease courses are reflected by changes in KP metabolites. Increased QUIN levels of RRMS patients in relapse and generally decreased levels of TRP in SPMS may relate to neurotoxicity and failure of remyelination, respectively. In contrast, PPMS patients displayed a more divergent pattern more resembling inflammatory conditions such as systemic lupus erythematosus. The pattern of KP metabolites in RRMS patients could not predict neurocognitive symptoms.