Subacute sclerosing panencephalitis (SSPE) is a rare neurodegenerative disorder caused by a persistent infection with aberrant measles virus. Indoleamine-2, 3-dioxygenase (IDO) initiates the increased production of kynurenine pathway (KP) metabolites quinolinic acid (QUIN), which has an excitotoxic effect for neurons. We measured serum IDO activity and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) levels of QUIN. The CSF QUIN levels were significantly higher in SSPE patients than in controls, and increased according as neurological disability in a patient studied. Elevation of CSF QUIN and progression of SSPE indicate a pathological role of KP metabolism in the inflammatory neurodestruction.
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