Scientific article
Open access

Quinolinic acid is associated with cognitive deficits in schizophrenia but not major depressive disorder

Published inScientific Reports, vol. 11, no. 1, 9992
Publication date2021

Tryptophan and its catabolites (TRYCATs) have been suggested to link peripheral immune system activation and central neurotransmitter abnormalities with relevance to the etio-pathophysiology of schizophrenia (SZ) and major depressive disorder (MDD). The relationship to different psychopathological dimensions within these disorders however remains to be elucidated. We thus investigated potential group differences of tryptophan, kynurenine, kynurenic acid, 3-hydroxy kynurenine and quinolinic acid in the plasma of 19 healthy controls (HC), 45 patients with SZ and 43 patients with MDD and correlated plasma proteins with the "motivation and pleasure" dimension and cognition. After correcting for the covariates age, sex, body mass index, smoking and medication, patients with MDD showed lower kynurenine and 3-hydroxy kynurenine levels compared to HC. Quinolinic acid correlated negatively with composite cognitive score in patients with SZ, indicating that more severe cognitive impairments were associated with increased plasma levels of quinolinic acid. No correlations were found in patients with MDD. These results indicate that MDD and SZ are associated with dysregulation of the kynurenine pathway. Quinolinic acid might be specifically implicated in the pathophysiology of cognitive deficits in patients with SZ. Further studies are needed to determine whether TRYCATs are causally involved in the etiology of these neuropsychiatric disorders.

  • Cognitive control
  • Neuroscience
  • Neuroimmunology
Citation (ISO format)
CATHOMAS, Flurin et al. Quinolinic acid is associated with cognitive deficits in schizophrenia but not major depressive disorder. In: Scientific Reports, 2021, vol. 11, n° 1, p. 9992. doi: 10.1038/s41598-021-89335-9
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Article (Published version)
ISSN of the journal2045-2322

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