Abstract It has been suggested (Ueda, T., Otsuka, H. and Goda, K. (1978) J. Biochem. 84, 687–696) that direct cleavage of kynurenine, catalysed by kynureninase, followed by microsomal hydroxylation of the resultant anthranilic acid, may provide an alternative to the established pathway of kynurenine metabolism that involves direct hydroxylation followed by cleavage to 3-hydroxyanthranilic acid. To test this suggestion, anthranilic acid was administered to rats; there was no increase in either the concentration of nicotinamide nucleotides in the liver or the urinary excretion of N 1-methyl nicotinamide. However, injection of either kynurenine or 3-hydroxyanthranilic acid did increase the concentration of nicotinamide nucleotides in the liver. The kinetics of kynurenine hydroxylase ( K m = 1.8±0.6·10 −5 mol/l) and kynureninase ( K m = 2.5±0.8·10 −4 mol/l, liver steady-state kynurenine = 4.9±0.9 μmol/kg) are such that the preferred route of kynurenine metabolism is probably by way of hydroxylation rather than cleavage.