A mathematical model of tryptophan metabolism via the kynurenine pathway provides insights into the effects of vitamin B-6 deficiency, tryptophan loading, and induction of tryptophan 2,3-dioxygenase on tryptophan metabolites
Rios-Avila, L.; Nijhout, H.F.; Reed, M.C.; Sitren, H.S.; Gregory, J.F.
Journal of Nutrition 143(9): 1509-1519
ISSN/ISBN: 1541-6100 PMID: 23902960 DOI: 10.3945/jn.113.174599
Vitamin B-6 deficiency is associated with impaired tryptophan metabolism because of the coenzyme role of pyridoxal 5'-phosphate (PLP) for kynureninase and kynurenine aminotransferase. To investigate the underlying mechanism, we developed a mathematical model of tryptophan metabolism via the kynurenine pathway. The model includes mammalian data on enzyme kinetics and tryptophan transport from the intestinal lumen to liver, muscle, and brain. Regulatory mechanisms and inhibition of relevant enzymes were included. We simulated the effects of graded reduction in cellular PLP concentration, tryptophan loads and induction of tryptophan 2,3-dioxygenase (TDO) on metabolite profiles and urinary excretion. The model predictions matched experimental data and provided clarification of the response of metabolites in various extents of vitamin B-6 deficiency. We found that moderate deficiency yielded increased 3-hydroxykynurenine and a decrease in kynurenic acid and anthranilic acid. More severe deficiency also yielded an increase in kynurenine and xanthurenic acid and more pronounced effects on the other metabolites. Tryptophan load simulations with and without vitamin B-6 deficiency showed altered metabolite concentrations consistent with published data. Induction of TDO caused an increase in all metabolites, and TDO induction together with a simulated vitamin B-6 deficiency, as has been reported in oral contraceptive users, yielded increases in kynurenine, 3-hydroxykynurenine, and xanthurenic acid and decreases in kynurenic acid and anthranilic acid. These results show that the model successfully simulated tryptophan metabolism via the kynurenine pathway and can be used to complement experimental investigations.