Degradation of Tryptophan in Neurodegenerative Disorders
In patients with neurodegenerative disorders, namely Alzheimer’s disease and Huntington’s disease, we compared serum concentrations of tryptophan, kynurenine and the kynurenine per tryptophan ratio with concentrations of soluble immune activation markers. Significantly lower tryptophan concentrations were observed in the patients, and lower tryptophan levels as well as higher kynurenine levels and higher kynurenine per tryptophan ratios correlated with higher concentrations of neopterin, and soluble receptors for TNF and interleukin-2. In both groups of patients tryptophan concentrations correlated inversely with the degree of mental retardation. No such association existed for the duration of the disease. The data show that systemic chronic immune activation in patients with Alzheimer’s disease and Huntingtons disease is associated with significant degradation of tryptophan, which is most likely due to activation of indoleamine (2,3)-dioxygenase by immunologic stimuli. Further studies will be necessary to investigate a potential role of tryptophan degradation in the pathogenesis of neurodegenerative disorders.
KeywordsNeurodegenerative Disorder Immune Activation Quinolinic Acid Kynurenine Pathway Tryptophan Metabolism
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