Temporal profile of kynurenine pathway metabolites in a rodent model of autosomal recessive polycystic kidney disease

Ananda Staats Pires, Shabarni Gupta, Sean A. Barton, Roshana Vander Wall, Vanessa Tan, Benjamin Heng, Jacqueline K. Phillips*, Gilles J. Guillemin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
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Autosomal recessive polycystic kidney disease (ARPKD) is an early onset genetic disorder characterized by numerous renal cysts resulting in end stage renal disease. Our study aimed to determine if metabolic reprogramming and tryptophan (Trp) metabolism via the kynurenine pathway (KP) is a critical dysregulated pathway in PKD. Using the Lewis polycystic kidney (LPK) rat model of PKD and Lewis controls, we profiled temporal trends for KP metabolites in plasma, urine, and kidney tissues from 6- and 12-week-old mixed sex animals using liquid and gas chromatography, minimum n = 5 per cohort. A greater kynurenine (KYN) concentration was observed in LPK kidney and plasma of 12-week rats compared to age matched Lewis controls (P ⩽.05). LPK kidneys also showed an age effect (P ⩽.05) with KYN being greater in 12-week versus 6-week LPK. The metabolites xanthurenic acid (XA), 3-hydroxykynurenine (3-HK), and 3-hydroxyanthranilic acid (3-HAA) were significantly greater in the plasma of 12-week LPK rats compared to age matched Lewis controls (P ⩽.05). Plasma XA and 3-HK also showed an age effect (P ⩽.05) being greater in 12-week versus 6-week LPK. We further describe a decrease in Trp levels in LPK plasma and kidney (strain effect P ⩽.05). There were no differences in KP metabolites in urine between cohorts. Using the ratio of product and substrates in the KP, a significant age-strain effect (P ⩽.05) was observed in the activity of the KYN/Trp ratio (tryptophan-2,3-dioxygenase [TDO] or indoleamine-2,3-dioxygenase [IDO] activity), kynurenine 3-monooxygenase (KMO), KAT A (kynurenine aminotransferase A), KAT B, total KAT, total KYNU (kynureninase), KYNU A, KYNU B, and total KYNU within LPK kidneys, supporting an activated KP. Confirmation of the activation of these enzymes will require verification through orthogonal techniques. In conclusion, we have demonstrated an up-regulation of the KP in alignment with progression of renal impairment in the LPK rat model, suggesting that KP activation may be a critical contributor to the pathobiology of PKD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-14
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of Tryptophan Research
Early online date29 Oct 2022
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s) 2022. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


  • chronic kidney disease
  • Kynurenine pathway
  • nephronophthisis
  • polycystic kidney disease
  • tryptophan


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