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Objective: Preclinical studies have reported that abnormal kynurenic acid (KYNA) may play a role in cognitive deficits. Schizophrenia (SCZ) is characterized by a wide range of cognitive deficits that may evolve from abnormal KYNA. This study aimed to explore the relationship between KYNA and cognitive impairment in SCZ, which has not yet been reported. Methods: We recruited 30 SCZ patients and 34 healthy controls, measured clinical symptoms by using the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale and performed cognitive tests using the MATRICS Consensus Cognitive Battery (MCCB). Plasma levels of tryptophan, kynurenine, and KYNA were determined by high-performance liquid chromatography–tandem mass spectrometry. Results: We found that plasma KYNA levels were significantly higher in patients than in healthy controls (p=0.009). The cognitive performance of patients in the total MCCB scores and the scores of all subscales were significantly lower than those in healthy controls (all P < 0.01). Correlation analysis showed that KYNA levels were negatively correlated with attention/vigilance (r=–0.457, p=0.019) and social cognition (r=–0.481, p=0.013) only in SCZ patients. Conclusion: Our results indicate that elevated plasma KYNA levels may serve as a biomarker of cognitive impairment in SCZ patients.
Huang, X., Ding, W., Wu, F., Zhou, S., Deng, S., & Ning, Y. (2020). Increased plasma kynurenic acid levels are associated with impaired attention/vigilance and social cognition in patients with schizophrenia. Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment, 16, 263–271. https://doi.org/10.2147/NDT.S239763