Tryptophan metabolites as new biomarkers for IBD severity and therapy response

In an analysis of serum and biopsy samples from overall more than 500 patients with IBD, SYSCID researchers observed a negative correlation between serum levels of tryptophan and disease activity. Increased levels of tryptophan metabolites—especially of quinolinic acid—could contribute to development of IBD or aggravate disease activity. The study shows a link between levels of tryptophan metabolites and response to therapy. The composition of the fecal microbiota and mucosal gene expression patterns is associated with tryptophan levels and disease activity in patients with IBD. Additional studies are now warranted to determine whether modification of intestinal tryptophan pathways could be developed into a treatment option for IBD and whether this metabolic impairment is unique to IBD or might also be present in the other inflammatory disease under study in SYSCID.

The study was published available in Gastroenterology in December 2017 and is available open access.