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Treatment of Autoimmune Neuroinflammation with a Synthetic Tryptophan Metabolite

Science  04 Nov 2005:
Vol. 310, Issue 5749, pp. 850-855
DOI: 10.1126/science.1117634

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Abstract

Local catabolism of the amino acid tryptophan (Trp) by indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase (IDO) is considered an important mechanism of regulating T cell immunity. We show that IDO transcription was increased when myelin-specific T cells were stimulated with tolerogenic altered self-peptides. Catabolites of Trp suppressed proliferation of myelin-specific T cells and inhibited production of proinflammatory T helper–1 (TH1) cytokines. N-(3,4,-Dimethoxycinnamoyl) anthranilic acid (3,4-DAA), an orally active synthetic derivative of the Trp metabolite anthranilic acid, reversed paralysis in mice with experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis, a model of multiple sclerosis (MS). Trp catabolites and their derivatives offer a new strategy for treating TH1-mediated autoimmune diseases such as MS.

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