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Am J Neuroprot Neuroregen. 2011 Jun;3(1):48-52.

Neopterin, a Marker of Interferon-Gamma-Inducible Inflammation, Correlates with Pyridoxal-5'-Phosphate, Waist Circumference, HDL-Cholesterol, Insulin Resistance and Mortality Risk in Adult Boston Community Dwellers of Puerto Rican Origin.

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Psychiatry and Inflammation Program, Department of Psychiatry, Tufts University/Tufts Medical Center, Boston, MA 02111, USA.


Interferon-gamma (IFNG), a pro-inflammatory cytokine, increases concentrations of neopterin, a stable pteridine derivative, due to IFNG-induced transcriptional activation of the rate-limiting enzyme of pteridines biosynthesis. Neopterin concentrations were reported to correlate with metabolic syndrome (MetS), the cause of increased mortality risk, in subjects of European ancestry. We were interested to assessed neopterin correlations with clinical markers of MetS and mortality risk in population with a different genetic background, i.e., Puerto Ricans residents of Boston. Since inflammation is associated with pyridoxal-5'-phosphate (PLP) deficiency, we assessed correlations of neopterin with PLP. Plasma neopterin concentrations were evaluated in 592 adult (45-75 years of age) participants of Boston Puerto Rican Health Study. Neopterin concentrations correlated with abdominal obesity (waist circumference, r = 0.085, p < 0.038), HDL cholesterol (r = -0.15, p < 0.0001), insulin resistance (HOMA-IR, r = 0.08, P < 0.03), and plasma pyridoxal-5'-phosphate (PLP (r = -0.13, P = 0.002). Neopterin concentrations of >16 nmol/L at baseline were associated with the increased risk of mortality in 113 subjects followed for 6 years. The present results together with previously reported data in European subjects suggest a similar pattern of neopterin correlations with MetS and mortality risk in population with different genetic backgrounds. PLP is a cofactor of IFNG-induced key enzymes of tryptophan-kynurenine metabolism. Since PLP deficiency is associated with the increased production of diabetogenic kynurenine derivative, xanthurenic acid, our results suggest that up-regulated IFNG production might contribute to the development of insulin resistance. Assessment of neopterin concentrations might help to monitor the activity of IFNG-inducible inflammation associated with aging-associated medical and psychiatric disorders.

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