The kynurenine pathway metabolite kynurenic acid (KYNA), modulating glutamatergic and cholinergic neurotransmission, is increased in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) of patients with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder type 1 with psychotic features. KYNA production is critically dependent on kynurenine 3-monooxygenase (KMO). KMO mRNA levels and activity in prefrontal cortex (PFC) are reduced in schizophrenia. We hypothesized that KMO expression in PFC would be reduced in bipolar disorder with psychotic features and that a functional genetic variant of KMO would associate with this disease, CSF KYNA level and KMO expression. KMO mRNA levels were reduced in PFC of bipolar disorder patients with lifetime psychotic features (P = 0.005, n = 19) or schizophrenia (P = 0.02, n = 36) compared with nonpsychotic patients and controls. KMO genetic association to psychotic features in bipolar disorder type 1 was studied in 493 patients and 1044 controls from Sweden. The KMO Arg(452) allele was associated with psychotic features during manic episodes (P = 0.003). KMO Arg(452) was studied for association to CSF KYNA levels in an independent sample of 55 Swedish patients, and to KMO expression in 717 lymphoblastoid cell lines and 138 hippocampal biopsies. KMO Arg(452) associated with increased levels of CSF KYNA (P = 0.03) and reduced lymphoblastoid and hippocampal KMO expression (P <= 0.05). Thus, findings from five independent cohorts suggest that genetic variation in KMO influences the risk for psychotic features in mania of bipolar disorder patients. This provides a possible mechanism for the previous findings of elevated CSF KYNA levels in those bipolar patients with lifetime psychotic features and positive association between KYNA levels and number of manic episodes.