Lipopolysaccharide Increases Cortical Kynurenic Acid and Deficits in Reference Memory in Mice

Lee Peyton, Alfredo Oliveros, Maximilian Tufvesson-Alm, Lilly Schwieler, Phillip Starski, Göran Engberg, Sopie Erhardt, Doo Sup Choi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Kynurenic acid (KYNA), a glial-derived metabolite of tryptophan metabolism, is an antagonist of the alpha 7 nicotinic acetylcholine receptor and the glycine-binding site of N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA) receptors. Kynurenic acid levels are increased in both the brain and cerebrospinal fluid of several psychiatric disorders including bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and Alzheimer disease. In addition, pro-inflammatory cytokines have been found to be elevated in the blood of schizophrenic patients suggesting inflammation may play a role in psychiatric illness. As both pro-inflammatory cytokines and KYNA can be elevated in the brain by peripheral lipopolysaccharide (LPS) injection, we therefore sought to characterize the role of neuroinflammation on learning and memory using a well-described dual-LPS injection model. Mice were injected with an initial injection (0.25 mg/kg LPS, 0.50 mg/kg, or saline) of LPS and then administrated a second injection 16 hours later. Our results indicate both 0.25 and 0.50 mg/kg dual-LPS treatment increased l-kynurenine and KYNA levels in the medial pre-frontal cortex (mPFC). Mice exhibited impaired acquisition of CS+ (conditioned stimulus) Pavlovian conditioning. Notably, mice showed impairment in reference memory while working memory was normal in an 8-arm maze. Taken together, our findings suggest that neuroinflammation induced by peripheral LPS administration contributes to cognitive dysfunction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalInternational Journal of Tryptophan Research
StatePublished - 2019


  • Kynurenic-acid
  • lipopolysaccharide
  • medial-prefrontal cortex
  • reference memory
  • spatial memory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology


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