Activated human microglia produce the excitotoxin quinolinic acid.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

We aimed to determine the relative role of quinolinic acid synthesis in purified human microglia, monocyte-derived macrophages and astrocytes in the human brain following immune stimulation. Microglia and macrophages significantly increased quinolinic acid synthesis from tryptophan following activation by either lipopolysaccharide or interferon-gamma. Quinolinic acid synthesis by individual microglia was heterogeneous, and its production by activated macrophages was approximately 32-fold greater than its microglial synthesis. Quinolinic acid synthesis by astrocytes was undetectable. Microglia may, therefore, be the primary endogenous cell type responsible for quinolinic acid synthesis in the brain parenchyma. However, under pathological conditions which precipitate blood-brain barrier compromise and/or leukocytic infiltration, intracerebral quinolinic acid may be derived chiefly from cells of the peripheral immune system such as activated macrophages.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Espey, MG; Chernyshev, ON; Reinhard, JF; Namboodiri, MA; Colton, CA

Published Date

  • January 20, 1997

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 8 / 2

Start / End Page

  • 431 - 434

PubMed ID

  • 9080423

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0959-4965

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1097/00001756-199701200-00011


  • eng

Conference Location

  • England