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Kynurenic Acid and Neuroprotective Activity of the Ketogenic Diet in the Eye

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Background: There is growing evidence of the involvement of the kynurenine metabolic pathway and the enhancement of kynurenic acid production in the neuroprotective effects of the ketogenic diet.

Objective: Here, we review evidence implicating kynurenic acid in the efficacy of ketogenic diet in eye diseases associated with neurodegeneration.

Findings: Ketogenic diet and ketone bodies that are elevated during exposure to the ketogenic diet each have a neuroprotective effect on retinal ganglion cells in a rat model of Nmethyl- D-aspartate induced neuronal damage. Chronic exposure to ketogenic diet also increases kynurenic acid concentrations in discrete rat brain structures. A non-selective glutamate receptor agonist, glutamate, also decreases the production of kynurenic acid in bovine retinal slices; this effect is attenuated by acetoacetate and β-hydroxybutyrate, two of three ketone bodies overproduced during ketogenic diet.

Perspective: Whether ketogenic diet induced enhancement of kynurenic acid production would translate into a clinically significant improvement in certain eye diseases like glaucoma and retinal neurodegenerations awaits further experimental and clinical verification.
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Keywords: Eye; ketogenic diet; kynurenic acid; kynurenine; neuroprotection; retina

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: October 1, 2017

This article was made available online on October 12, 2017 as a Fast Track article with title: "Kynurenic Acid and |Neuroprotective Activity of the Ketogenic Diet in the Eye".

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  • Current Medicinal Chemistry covers all the latest and outstanding developments in medicinal chemistry and rational drug design. Each issue contains a series of timely in-depth reviews written by leaders in the field covering a range of the current topics in medicinal chemistry. Current Medicinal Chemistry is an essential journal for every medicinal chemist who wishes to be kept informed and up-to-date with the latest and most important developments.
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