Skip to main content
Open Access Publications from the University of California


UC San Francisco Previously Published Works bannerUCSF

Kynurenic acid accumulation underlies learning and memory impairment associated with aging.


A general feature of animal aging is decline in learning and memory. Here we show that in Caenorhabditis elegans, a significant portion of this decline is due to accumulation of kynurenic acid (KYNA), an endogenous antagonist of neural N-methyl-D-aspartate receptors (NMDARs). We show that activation of a specific pair of interneurons either through genetic means or by depletion of KYNA significantly improves learning capacity in aged animals even when the intervention is applied in aging animals. KYNA depletion also improves memory. We show that insulin signaling is one factor in KYNA accumulation.

Many UC-authored scholarly publications are freely available on this site because of the UC's open access policies. Let us know how this access is important for you.

Main Content
For improved accessibility of PDF content, download the file to your device.
Current View