Induction of tryptophan degradation in vitro and in vivo: a gamma-interferon-stimulated activity.

  • Byrne G
  • Lehmann L
  • Kirschbaum J
 et al. 
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Human recombinant gamma interferon (rHuIFN-gamma) was found to induce tryptophan degradation in vitro in human cell cultures and in vivo in participants in phase I clinical trials. When human lung fibroblasts were treated with various concentrations of rHuIFN-gamma, they degraded tryptophan in a dose- and time-dependent manner. No tryptophan degradation was observed when cells were incubated in growth medium alone or in medium supplemented with human recombinant beta-interferon (rHuIFN-beta ser). Similarly human bladder carcinoma cells were induced to catabolize tryptophan after incubation with rHuIFN-gamma, but no activity was observed in untreated cells or cells treated with either rHuIFN-beta ser or human naturally produced alpha-interferon (HuIFN-alpha). When tryptophan plasma levels were measured in cancer patients who had received i.v. bolus injections of rHuIFN-gamma as part of a phase I clinical trial, decreased tryptophan levels were observed when compared with pretreatment values or values obtained from individuals who had received i.v. injections of HuIFN-alpha. Urine analyses were suggestive that plasma tryptophan degradation occurred via the kynurenine catabolic pathway in individuals who received rHuIFN-gamma. We conclude that tryptophan degradation is an activity induced in vitro and in vivo in response to exogenous IFN-gamma but not to IFN-alpha or IFN-beta. Tryptophan degradation may play an important role in the mechanism of antiproliferative, immunologic, and clinical side effects of IFN-gamma.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Carcinoma
  • Carcinoma: metabolism
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Fibroblasts
  • Fibroblasts: drug effects
  • Fibroblasts: metabolism
  • Humans
  • Interferon Type I
  • Interferon Type I: pharmacology
  • Interferon Type I: therapeutic use
  • Interferon-beta
  • Interferon-gamma
  • Interferon-gamma: pharmacology
  • Interferon-gamma: therapeutic use
  • Kynurenine
  • Kynurenine: urine
  • Neoplasms
  • Neoplasms: metabolism
  • Neoplasms: therapy
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Recombinant Proteins: pharmacology
  • Recombinant Proteins: therapeutic use
  • Stimulation, Chemical
  • Tryptophan
  • Tryptophan: metabolism
  • Urinary Bladder Neoplasms
  • Urinary Bladder Neoplasms: metabolism

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  • G I Byrne

  • L K Lehmann

  • J G Kirschbaum

  • E C Borden

  • C M Lee

  • R R Brown

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