Amino Acids

, Volume 36, Issue 1, pp 75–80 | Cite as

Presence of kynurenic acid in food and honeybee products

  • Michal P. Turski
  • Monika Turska
  • Wojciech Zgrajka
  • Damian Kuc
  • Waldemar A. TurskiEmail author
Original Article


Kynurenic acid (KYNA) is an endogenous antagonist of ionotropic glutamate receptors and the α7 nicotinic acetylcholine receptor, showing anticonvulsant and neuroprotective activity. In this study, the presence of KYNA in food and honeybee products was investigated. KYNA was found in all 37 tested samples of food and honeybee products. The highest concentration of KYNA was obtained from honeybee products’ samples, propolis (9.6 nmol/g), honey (1.0–4.8 nmol/g) and bee pollen (3.4 nmol/g). A high concentration was detected in fresh broccoli (2.2 nmol/g) and potato (0.7 nmol/g). Only traces of KYNA were found in some commercial baby products. KYNA administered intragastrically in rats was absorbed from the intestine into the blood stream and transported to the liver and to the kidney. In conclusion, we provide evidence that KYNA is a constituent of food and that it can be easily absorbed from the digestive system.


Kynurenic acid Food Honeybee product Digestive system Absorption 



M.P. Turski and M. Turska are students, volunteers in the Department of Toxicology. This study was supported in part by grant nr 1.27/07 from the Institute of Agricultural Medicine, Lublin, Poland.


  1. al-Khalil S, Alkofahi A, el-Eisawi D, al-Shibib A (1998) Transtorine, a new quinoline alkaloid from Ephedra transitoria. J Nat Prod 61:262–263PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Birch PJ, Grossman CJ, Hayes AG (1988) Kynurenic acid antagonises responses to NMDA via an action at the strychnine-insensitive glycine receptor. Eur J Pharmacol 154:85–87PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Covasa M, Ritter RC, Burns GA (2000) NMDA receptor participation in control of food intake by the stomach. Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol 278:R1362–R1368PubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. Demitrack MA, Heyes MP, Altemus M, Pigott TA, Gold PW (1995) Cerebrospinal fluid levels of kynurenine pathway metabolites in patients with eating disorders: relation to clinical and biochemical variable. Biol Psychiatry 37:512–520PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Drieu K (1986) Preparation and definition of Ginkgo biloba extract. Presse Med 15:1455–1457PubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. Fukui S, Schwarcz R, Rapoport SI, Takada Y, Smith QR (1991) Blood–brain barrier transport of kynurenines: implications for brain synthesis and metabolism. J Neurochem 56:2007–2017PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Hermanussen M, Tresguerres JA (2005) A new anti-obesity drug treatment: first clinical evidence that, antagonising glutamate-gated Ca2+ ion channels with memantine normalises binge-eating disorders. Econ Hum Biol 3:329–337PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Hilmas C, Pereira EF, Alkondon M, Rassoulpour A, Schwarcz R, Albuquerque EX (2001) The brain metabolite kynurenic acid inhibits alpha7 nicotinic receptor activity and increases non-alpha7 nicotinic receptor expression: physiopathological implications. J Neurosci 21:7463–7473PubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. Jankovic SM, Milovanovic D, Matovic M, Iric-Cupic V (1999) The effects of excitatory amino acids on isolated gut segments of the rat. Pharmacol Res 39:143–148PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Jo YH, Wiedl D, Role LW (2005) Cholinergic modulation of appetite-related synapses in mouse lateral hypothalamic slice. J Neurosci 25:11133–11144PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Kaszaki J, Palasthy Z, Erczes D, Racz A, Torday C, Varga G, Vecsei L, Boros M (2008) Kynurenic acid inhibits intestinal hypermotility and xanthine oxidase activity during experimental colon obstruction in dogs. Neurogastroenterol Motil 20:53–62PubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. Kazda H, Taylor N, Healy D, Walker D (1998) Maternal, umbilical, and amniotic fluid concentrations of tryptophan and kynurenine after labor or cesarean section. Pediatr Res 44:368–373PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Kuc D, Rahnama M, Tomaszewski T, Rzeski W, Wejksza K, Urbanik-Sypniewska T, Parada-Turska J, Wielosz M, Turski WA (2006) Kynurenic acid in human saliva—does it influence oral microflora? Pharmacol Rep 58:393–398PubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. Kuc D, Zgrajka W, Parada-Turska J, Urbanik-Sypniewska T, Turski WA (2008) Micromolar concentration of kynurenic acid in rat small intestine. Amino Acids. doi: 10.1007/s00726-007-0631-z
  15. Lee SW, Stanley BG (2005) NMDA receptors mediate feeding elicited by neuropeptide Y in the lateral and perifornical hypothalamus. Brain Res 1063:1–8PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Milart P, Urbanska EM, Turski WA, Paszkowski T, Sikorski R (2001) Kynurenine aminotransferase I activity in human placenta. Placenta 22:259–261PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Nemeth H, Toldi J, Vecsei L (2005) Role of kynurenines in the central and peripheral nervous systems. Curr Neurovasc Res 2:249–260PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Obaid AL, Nelson ME, Lindstrom J, Salzberg BM (2005) Optical studies of nicotinic acetylcholine receptor subtypes in the guinea-pig enteric nervous system. J Exp Biol 208:2981–3001PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Orzaez Villanueva MT, Diaz MA, Bravo SR, Blazquez AG (2002) The importance of bee-collected pollen in the diet: a study of its composition. Int J Food Sci Nutr 53:217–224PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Parada-Turska J, Rzeski W, Zgrajka W, Majdan M, Kandefer-Szerszen M, Turski W (2006) Kynurenic acid, an endogenous constituent of rheumatoid arthritis synovial fluid, inhibits proliferation of synoviocytes in vitro. Rheumatol Int 26:422–426PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Perkins MN, Stone TW (1982) An iontophoretic investigation of the actions of convulsant kynurenines and their interaction with the endogenous excitant quinolinic acid. Brain Res 247:184–187PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Scharfman HE, Goodman JH, Schwarcz R (2000) Electrophysiological effects of exogenous and endogenous kynurenic acid in the rat brain: studies in vivo and in vitro. Amino Acids 19:283–297PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Shibata K (1988) Fluorimetric micro-determination of kynurenic acid, an endogenous blocker of neurotoxicity, by high-performance liquid chromatography. J Chromatogr 430:376–380PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Tsai LH (2005) Function of GABAergic and glutamatergic neurons in the stomach. J Biomed Sci 12:255–266PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Turski WA, Nakamura M, Todd WP, Carpenter BK, Whetsell WO Jr, Schwarcz R (1988) Identification and quantification of kynurenic acid in human brain tissue. Brain Res 454:164–169PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Turski WA, Gramsbergen JB, Traitler H, Schwarcz R (1989) Rat brain slices produce and liberate kynurenic acid upon exposure to l-kynurenine. J Neurochem 52:1629–1636PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Wang J, Simonavicius N, Wu X, Swaminath G, Reagan J, Tian H, Ling L (2006) Kynurenic acid as a ligand for orphan G protein-coupled receptor GPR35. J Biol Chem 281:22021–22028PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michal P. Turski
    • 1
  • Monika Turska
    • 1
  • Wojciech Zgrajka
    • 1
  • Damian Kuc
    • 2
  • Waldemar A. Turski
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of ToxicologyInstitute of Agricultural MedicineLublinPoland
  2. 2.Department of Experimental and Clinical PharmacologyMedical UniversityLublinPoland

Personalised recommendations