Addiction and the kynurenine pathway: A new dancing couple?

Drug use poses a serious threat to health systems throughout the world and the number of consumers rises relentlessly every year. The kynurenine pathway, main pathway of tryptophan degradation, has drawn interest in this field due to its relationship with addictive behaviour. Recently it has been confirmed that modulation of kynurenine metabolism at certain stages of the pathway can reduce, prevent or abolish drug seeking-like behaviours in studies with several different drugs. In this review, we present an up-to-date summary of the evidences of a relationship between drug use and the kynurenine pathway, both the alterations of the pathway due to drug use as well as modulation of the pathway as a potential approach to treat drug addiction. The review discusses ethanol, nicotine, cannabis, amphetamines, cocaine and opioids and new prospects in the drug research field are proposed.

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S8172 Ro 61-8048 Ro 61-8048 is a high-affinity kynurenine 3-hydroxylase (KMO) inhibitor with IC50 and Ki of 37 nM and 4.8 nM, respectively. (3)

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