Dysregulation of the kynurenine pathway (KP) leads to imbalances in neuroactive metabolites associated with the pathogenesis of several neurodegenerative disorders, including Huntington's disease (HD). Inhibition of the enzyme kynurenine 3-monooxygenase (KMO) in the KP normalises these metabolic imbalances and ameliorates neurodegeneration and related phenotypes in several neurodegenerative disease models. KMO is thus a promising candidate drug target for these disorders, but known inhibitors are not brain permeable. Here, 19 new KMO inhibitors have been identified. One of these (1) is neuroprotective in a Drosophila HD model but is minimally brain penetrant in mice. The prodrug variant (1b) crosses the blood-brain barrier, releases 1 in the brain, thereby lowering levels of 3-hydroxykynurenine, a toxic KP metabolite linked to neurodegeneration. Prodrug 1b will advance development of targeted therapies against multiple neurodegenerative and neuroinflammatory diseases in which KP likely plays a role, including HD, Alzheimer's disease, and Parkinson's disease.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- General Biochemistry,Genetics and Molecular Biology
- General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
- Medicine (miscellaneous)