Quinolinic acid concentrations in brain and cerebrospinal fluid of patients with intractable complex partial seizures

Epilepsia. 1990 Mar-Apr;31(2):172-7. doi: 10.1111/j.1528-1167.1990.tb06302.x.


Quinolinic acid (QUIN) is a neurotoxin and convulsant when injected directly into the brains of experimental animals and as such has been implicated in the etiology of human seizure disorders. In the present study, we quantified QUIN in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and in spiking (focus) and nonspiking (nonfocus) regions of surgically resected human temporal neocortex. L-tryptophan (L-TRP), the putative precursor of QUIN, was also measured in brain, along with CSF concentrations of L-TRP, 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid (5-HIAA), and homovanillic acid (HVA). In brain tissue, no differences were found in the concentrations of QUIN and L-TRP between focus and nonfocus regions in 15 pairs of samples. No differences were found in CSF, L-TRP, 5-HIAA, or HVA concentrations between 11 neurologically normal controls and 15 interictal (no seizures for greater than 24 h) and 20 postictal (within 50 min of seizure) samples from epileptic patients. However, CSF QUIN concentrations were significantly lower (32%) in the epileptic patients as compared with controls, which may indicate a generalized disturbance in brain QUIN metabolism or perhaps a response to antiepileptic drugs.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Brain Chemistry*
  • Child
  • Epilepsy, Temporal Lobe / cerebrospinal fluid
  • Epilepsy, Temporal Lobe / metabolism*
  • Homovanillic Acid / analysis
  • Homovanillic Acid / cerebrospinal fluid
  • Humans
  • Hydroxyindoleacetic Acid / analysis
  • Hydroxyindoleacetic Acid / cerebrospinal fluid
  • Middle Aged
  • Pyridines / analysis*
  • Quinolinic Acid
  • Quinolinic Acids / analysis*
  • Quinolinic Acids / cerebrospinal fluid
  • Tryptophan / analysis
  • Tryptophan / cerebrospinal fluid


  • Pyridines
  • Quinolinic Acids
  • Hydroxyindoleacetic Acid
  • Tryptophan
  • Quinolinic Acid
  • Homovanillic Acid