Kynurenic acid as an antagonist of α7 nicotinic acetylcholine receptors in the brain: Facts and challenges

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Kynurenic acid (KYNA), a major tryptophan metabolite, is a glutamate receptor antagonist, which is also reported to inhibit α7 nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (α7nAChRs). Due to variations in experimental approaches, controversy has arisen regarding the ability of KYNA to directly influence α7nAChR function. Here we summarize current concepts of KYNA neurobiology and review evidence pertaining to the proposed role of KYNA as an endogenous modulator of α7nAChRs and synaptic transmission. As dysfunction of α7nAChRs plays a major role in the pathophysiology of central nervous system disorders, elucidation of KYNA's action on this receptor subtype has significant therapeutic implications.

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