Prolonged Subdural Infusion of Kynurenic Acid Is Associated with Dose-Dependent Myelin Damage in the Rat Spinal Cord
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BACKGROUND: Kynurenic acid (KYNA) is the end stage metabolite of tryptophan produced mainly by astrocytes in the central nervous system (CNS). It has neuroprotective activities but can be elevated in the neuropsychiatric disorders. Toxic effects of KYNA in the CNS are unknown. The aim of this study was to assess the effect of the subdural KYNA infusion on the spinal cord in adult rats. METHODS: A total of 42 healthy adult rats were randomly assigned into six groups and were infused for 7 days with PBS (control) or 0.0002 pmol/min, 0.01 nmol/min, 0.1 nmol/min, 1 nmol/min, and 10 nmol/min of KYNA per 7 days. The effect of KYNA on spinal cord was determined using histological and electron microscopy examination. Myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein (MOG) was measured in the blood serum to assess a degree of myelin damage. RESULT: In all rats continuous long-lasting subdural KYNA infusion was associated with myelin damage and myelin loss that was increasingly widespread in a dose-depended fashion in peripheral, sub-pial areas. Damage to myelin sheaths was uniquely related to the separation of lamellae at the intraperiod line. The damaged myelin sheaths and areas with complete loss of myelin were associated with limited loss of scattered axons while vast majority of axons in affected areas were morphologically intact. The myelin loss-causing effect of KYNA occurred with no necrosis of oligodendrocytes, with locally severe astrogliosis and no cellular inflammatory response. Additionally, subdural KYNA infusion increased blood MOG concentration. Moreover, the rats infused with the highest doses of KYNA (1 and 10 nmol/min) demonstrated adverse neurological signs including weakness and quadriplegia. CONCLUSIONS: We suggest, that subdural infusion of high dose of KYNA can be used as an experimental tool for the study of mechanisms of myelin damage and regeneration. On the other hand, the administration of low, physiologically relevant doses of KYNA may help to discover the role of KYNA in control of physiological myelination process.
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