Scientists have found that altering the levels of a metabolite in the ‘kynurenine pathway’ can affect the retina and brain. He explained that the ‘kynurenine pathway’ involves biochemical reactions in cells that convert a basic component into other important components. Scientists have developed the kynurenine pathway based on genetics, dietary changes and biochemical analysis in Drosophila flies. studied the various changes taking place in
They found that the relative difference in the levels of the retinal metabolite ‘3-hydroxykynurenine’ and its protective metabolite ‘kynurenic acid’ determined the level of degeneration in the retina. Sarita Hebbar, who was part of the study team, said that while the increase in the level of 3-hydroxykynurenine increases the damage to the retina when the eyes are stressed, the increase in the level of kynurenic acid protects it. He said that this study suggests a way to maintain retinal health by making appropriate changes in the level of the metabolite.