Abstract Quinolinic acid is synthesized from 3-hydroxyanthranilic acid via 3-hydroxyanthranilic acid oxidase. In liver, 4-chloro-3-hydroxyanthranilic acid inhibits 3-hydroxyanthranilic acid oxidase. To determine whether 4-chloro-3-hydroxyanthranilic acid also inhibits 3-hydroxyanthranilic acid oxidase in brain, 3-hydroxyanthranilic acid was injected into the cisterna magna of rats either with or without 4-chloro-3 hydroxyanthranilic acid. 3-Hydroxyanthranilic acid increased quinolinic acid concentrations throughout the brain. 4-Chloro-3-hydroxyanthranilic acid attenuated increases in brain quinolinic acid. These observations indicate that 4-chloro-3-hydroxyanthranilic acid inhibits 3-hydroxyanthranilic acid oxidase in brain. Quinolinic acid is a well established systemic metabolite of l-tryptophan which has been shown to be present in brain (Wolfensberger et al., 1983; Heyes and Markey, 1988a). QUIN has proved to be a convulsant (Lapin, 1982), neurotoxin (Schwarcz et al., 1983) and agonist of N-methyl-D-aspartate receptors (Perkins and Stone, 1983) when injected directly into the central nervous system of experimental animals. Therefore increased concentrations of QUIN in brain may have neoropathologic consequences. l-Tryptophan is converted to QUIN via the kynurenine pathway. The precursor of QUIN, 2-amino-3-carboxymuconic semialdehyde is synthesized from 3-hydroxyanthranilic acid (3-HAA) by the action of 3-hydroxyanthranilic acid oxidase (3-HAA/OX) in liver and brain (Foster et al., 1986; Okuno et al., 1987). QUIN is then formed from 2-amino-3-carboxymuconic semialdehyde by a spontaneous, non-enzymatic reaction. In liver, 3-HAA/OX is inhibited by 4-chloro-3-hydroxyantranilic acid (CL-HAA; Parli et al., 1980). In the present study, rats were given an intracisternal injection of 3-HAA and the resultant increases in regional brain QUIN concentrations quantified by gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (Heyes and Markey, 1988a,b). To determine whether CL-HAA inhibit 3-hydroxyanthranilic acid oxidase in brain, CL-HAA was co-administered with 3-HAA to see whether increases in QUIN were attenuated.