• Huntingtin;
  • Huntington disease;
  • kynurenine pathway;
  • indoleamine 2,3 dioxygenase;
  • quinolinic acid;
  • striatum


Indoleamine 2,3 dioxygenase (Ido1), the first and rate-limiting enzyme of the kynurenine pathway (KP), is a striatally enriched gene with increased expression levels in the YAC128 mouse model of Huntington disease (HD). Our objective in this study was to delineate age-related KP alterations in this model. Three enzymes potentially catalyze the first step of the KP; Ido1 and Indoleamine 2,3 dioxygenase-2 were highly expressed in the striatum and Tryptophan 2,3 dioxygenase (Tdo2) in the cerebellum. During development, Ido1 mRNA expression is dynamically regulated and chronically up-regulated in YAC128 mice. Kynurenine (Kyn) to tryptophan (Trp) ratio, a measure of activity in the first step of the KP, was elevated in YAC128 striatum, but no change in Tdo2 mRNA levels or Kyn to Trp ratio was detected in the cerebellum. Ido1 induction was coincident with Trp depletion at 3 months and Kyn accumulation at 12 months of age in striatum. Changes in downstream KP metabolites of YAC128 mice generally followed a biphasic pattern with neurotoxic metabolites reduced at 3 months and increased at 12 months of age. Striatally specific induction of Ido1 and downstream KP alterations suggest involvement in HD pathogenesis, and should be taken into account in future therapeutic developments for HD.