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Alcohol Alcohol. 2014 May-Jun;49(3):251-5. doi: 10.1093/alcalc/agu011. Epub 2014 Mar 18.

Tryptophan metabolism in post-withdrawal alcohol-dependent patients.

Author information

  • 1Corresponding author: Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Medical University Innsbruck, Anichstrasse 35, 6020 Innsbruck, Austria. s.mechtcheriakov@i-med.ac.at.

Abstract

AIMS:

The aim of the study was to investigate the parameters of tryptophan and phenylalanine metabolism and their associations to immune system activation and to behavioural symptoms during medium-term withdrawal (4-12 weeks of abstinence) in alcohol-dependent patients.

METHODS:

Biochemical assays and clinical assessments at the beginning of treatment (fourth week of alcohol abstinence in average) and prior to the discharge after 8 weeks of treatment.

RESULTS:

Kynurenine to tryptophan ratio (Kyn/Trp) slightly correlated with neopterin levels in early post-withdrawal period (Week 4 of abstinence) but this association disappeared after 12 weeks of abstinence. Phenylalanine and tyrosine concentrations as well as phenylalanine to tyrosine ratio (Phe/Tyr) decreased between Weeks 4 and 12 of abstinence. Kynurenine and Kyn/Trp increased significantly at 12th week of abstinence when compared with the beginning of the study (Week 4 of abstinence). At Week 12, Kyn/Trp significantly correlated with such behavioural symptoms as fatigue, irritability and sleep disturbances.

CONCLUSIONS:

Tryptophan breakdown in early stages may be influenced by the increased activity of indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase but the increase of Kyn/Trp between Weeks 4 and 12 of abstinence seems to be independent of immune changes and correlates with behavioural symptoms in later stages of the post-withdrawal course. A possible role of kynurenine metabolites in mediation of the increased stress sensibility in post-withdrawal alcohol-dependent patients is discussed.

PMID:
24644258
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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