Immunomodulatory actions of a kynurenine-derived endogenous electrophile

Academic Article


  • The up-regulation of kynurenine metabolism induces immunomodulatory responses via incompletely understood mechanisms. We report that increases in cellular and systemic kynurenine levels yield the electrophilic derivative kynurenine-carboxyketoalkene (Kyn-CKA), as evidenced by the accumulation of thiol conjugates and saturated metabolites. Kyn-CKA induces NFE2 like bZIP transcription factor 2- and aryl hydrocarbon receptor-regulated genes and inhibits nuclear factor κB- and NLR family pyrin domain containing 3-dependent proinflammatory signaling. Sickle cell disease (SCD) is a hereditary hemolytic condition characterized by basal inflammation and recurrent vaso-occlusive crises. Both transgenic SCD mice and patients with SCD exhibit increased kynurenine and Kyn-CKA metabolite levels. Plasma hemin and kynurenine concentrations are positively correlated, indicating that Kyn-CKA synthesis in SCD is up-regulated during pathogenic vascular stress. Administration of Kyn-CKA abrogated pulmonary microvasculature occlusion in SCD mice, an important factor in lung injury development. These findings demonstrate that the up-regulation of kynurenine synthesis and its metabolism to Kyn-CKA is an adaptive response that attenuates inflammation and protects tissues.
  • Published In

  • Science Advances  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Carreno M; Pires MF; Woodcock SR; Brzoska T; Ghosh S; Salvatore SR; Chang F; Khoo NKH; Dunn M; Connors N
  • Volume

  • 8
  • Issue

  • 26