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Increase of tryptophan in serum and in cerebrospinal fluid of patients with HIV infection during zidovudine therapy

Journal article
Authors Dietmar Fuchs
Magnus Gisslén
M. Larsson
Gunnar Norkrans
Lars Hagberg
Helmut Wachter
Published in Adv Exp Med Biol
Volume 398
Pages 131-4
Publication year 1996
Published at Institute of Internal Medicine, Dept of Infectious Diseases
Pages 131-4
Language en
Keywords Anti-HIV Agents/*therapeutic use, Biopterin/analogs & derivatives/blood/cerebrospinal fluid, Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid, HIV Infections/blood/*cerebrospinal fluid/*drug therapy, HIV Seropositivity/blood/*cerebrospinal fluid/*drug therapy, Humans, Kynurenine/blood/cerebrospinal fluid, Neopterin, Quinolinic Acid/blood/cerebrospinal fluid, Radioimmunoassay, Time Factors, Tryptophan/blood/*cerebrospinal fluid, Zidovudine/*therapeutic use
Subject categories Microbiology in the medical area


A high percentage of patients with human immunodeficiency virus infection presents with decreased tryptophan concentrations in serum and cerebrospinal fluid. In parallel degradation products of tryptophan like kynurenine and quinolinic acid are increased. We investigated the behavior of tryptophan concentrations in 14 patients with HIV infection before and during treatment with zidovudine, and we found a significant increase of tryptophan in serum and cerebrospinal fluid after 4-14 months of therapy. In parallel, neopterin concentrations decreased significantly. Moreover, an association existed in cerebrospinal fluid between the degree of tryptophan increase and neopterin decrease. Thus, treatment with zidovudine contributes to a gradual normalization of tryptophan metabolism in patients with HIV-1 infection. The data imply that zidovudine therapy is associated not only with a reduction of virus replication but also immune activation is reduced.

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