Tryptophan Metabolism, Regulatory T Cells, and Inflammatory Bowel Disease: A Mini Review.Mediators Inflamm. 2020; 2020:9706140.MI
Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a chronic inflammatory disorder of the gastrointestinal tract resulting from the homeostasis imbalance of intestinal microenvironment, immune dysfunction, environmental and genetic factors, and so on. This disease is associated with multiple immune cells including regulatory T cells (Tregs). Tregs are a subset of T cells regulating the function of various immune cells to induce immune tolerance and maintain intestinal immune homeostasis. Tregs are correlated with the initiation and progression of IBD; therefore, strategies that affect the differentiation and function of Tregs may be promising for the prevention of IBD-associated pathology. It is worth noting that tryptophan (Trp) metabolism is effective in inducing the differentiation of Tregs through microbiota-mediated degradation and kynurenine pathway (KP), which is important for maintaining the function of Tregs. Interestingly, patients with IBD show Trp metabolism disorder in the pathological process, including changes in the concentrations of Trp and its metabolites and alteration in the activities of related catalytic enzymes. Thus, manipulation of Treg differentiation through Trp metabolism may provide a potential target for prevention of IBD. The purpose of this review is to highlight the relationship between Trp metabolism and Treg differentiation and the role of this interaction in the pathogenesis of IBD.