Exercise and the Kynurenine pathway: Current state of knowledge and results from a randomized cross-over study comparing acute effects of endurance and resistance training

Publikation: Beitrag in FachzeitschriftZeitschriftenaufsätzeForschungBegutachtung


INTRODUCTION: The essential amino acid tryptophan (TRP) is primarily degraded through the kynurenine (KYN) pathway, which is dysregulated in several chronic diseases. KYN pathway metabolites have immune- and neuro-modulatory properties and are involved in th de novo synthesis of nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+). Currently, little evidence exists demonstrating that physical exercise may influence this pathway. However, differences between acute and chronic stimuli as well as the influence of exercise modalities remain to be investigated. Here, we provide an overview of existing studies and present results of a randomized cross-over trial on acute effects of a single-bout of resistance and endurance exercise.

METHODS: 24 healthy male adults conducted both an acute endurance exercise (EE) and resistance exercise (RE) session. Blood samples were collected before, immediately after and one hour after cessation of each exercise session. Outcomes comprised serum levels of TRP, KYN, kynurenic acid (KA), quinolinic acid (QA) and calculated ratios. Gene expression of the enzymes indoleamine 2,3 dioxygenase (IDO) 1 and kynurenine aminotransferase (KAT) 4 was measured in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs). Moreover, serum concentrations of the potential KYN pathway mediators interleukin (IL)-6 and cortisol were determined. Finally, we investigated baseline correlations between immune cell subsets, potential mediators and initial KYN pathway activation outcomes.

RESULTS: The KYN/TRP ratio correlated positively with IL-6 and CD56bright NK-cells and negatively with CD56dim NKcells. Expression of IDO1 in PBMCs correlated positively with IL-6, regulatory T-cells and CD56bright NK-cells, whereas negative correlations to cytotoxic T-cells and CD56dim NKcells were revealed. A significant time effect on KYN/TRP ratio was detected for RE. Regarding KA and KA/KYN ratio, an increase after exercise followed by a decrease at the follow- up measurement was revealed in EE. KAT4 expression also increased after exercise in EE. Moreover, elevated QA levels were observed after the EE session.

CONCLUSIONS: In contrast to chronic exercise interventions, single-bouts of endurance exercise provoke acute alterations on KYN pathway outcomes in humans. Our results indicate that EE induces stronger alterations than RE. Enhanced conversion of KYN to both, KA and QA suggest a peripheral KYN clearance, thereby preventing pathological accumulation within the CNS. Future acute and chronic exercise studies are needed to examine the role of NAD+ synthesis starting with TRP and the interplay between KYN pathway activation and mid- to long-term immunological modulations.

ZeitschriftExercise immunology review
Seiten (von - bis)24-42
PublikationsstatusVeröffentlicht - 2020


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