Quinolinic acid (QUIN) has been suggested to be involved in infections, inflammatory neurological disorders and in the development of psychiatric disorders. In this view, several studies have been performed to investigate QUIN localization in the brain and its neurotoxic effects. However, evidence is lacking regarding QUIN in healthy, control conditions. The aim of this study was to investigate the region-specific distribution and pattern of QUIN expression in the naive mouse brain. In addition, possible sex differences in QUIN-immunoreactivity and its link with affect-related behavioural observations were assessed. For this purpose, naive mice were subjected to the forced swim test (FST) and 20 min open field (OF) testing to measure affect-related behaviour. Afterwards, brains were assessed for QUIN-immunoreactivity. QUIN-immunoreactivity was particularly observed in the cingulate cortex (CC), highlighting clearly delineated cells, and the thalamic reticular nucleus (TRN), showing a more diffuse staining pattern. Subsequently, QUIN-positive cells in the CC were counted, while QUIN-immunoreactivity in the TRN was examined using gray value measurements. No significant differences between sexes were observed for the number of QUIN-positive cells in the CC, neither in levels of QUIN-immunoreactivity in the TRN. A direct correlation was found between QUIN-positive cells in the CC and QUIN-immunoreactivity in the TRN. Moreover, in male mice, a very strong correlation (r(sp) = .943; p <.01) between QUIN-immunoreactivity at the level of the TRN and motor activity in the OF was observed. Thus, our results suggest that QUIN - detected in the CC and the TRN - may play a role in regulating motor activity in normal conditions.
- Quinolinic acid