Scientists find better biomarker to detect inflammatory diseases early

Credit: Unsplash+.

In recent years, a fascinating discovery has emerged from the Cluster of Excellence “Precision Medicine in Chronic Inflammation” (PMI) at Kiel University.

Their research has unveiled a critical insight: people with chronic inflammatory diseases have significantly lower levels of tryptophan, an essential amino acid, compared to healthy individuals.

This revelation is not just a footnote in medical journals but a potential breakthrough in diagnosing and managing chronic inflammation.

Tryptophan is a building block of proteins, vital for human health, that our bodies cannot produce on their own. It must be obtained through diet.

The importance of tryptophan goes beyond nutrition, as researchers have linked its consumption to chronic inflammatory conditions such as Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, and various rheumatic diseases including rheumatoid arthritis and lupus.

Over a decade, the team at Kiel has meticulously analyzed blood samples from nearly 2,000 patients using mass spectrometry, a technique that measures the mass of molecules in a sample, allowing for precise biomarker detection.

This large-scale study, encompassing around 30,000 samples, confirmed a consistent reduction in tryptophan levels across nine of thirteen chronic inflammatory diseases examined.

The Comprehensive Center for Inflammation Medicine (CCIM) at the University Hospital Schleswig-Holstein, with its interdisciplinary approach, has been pivotal in this research.

It has provided a unique setting to explore the potential of tryptophan as a new biomarker for chronic inflammation, systematically studying its levels in patients over time.

This work is not just about identifying a deficit; it’s about understanding the implications of this discovery. Reduced tryptophan levels could serve as a marker for even the most subtle forms of residual inflammation, invisible to current clinical examinations and traditional markers like C-reactive protein (CRP).

This could revolutionize how doctors decide on the intensity and timing of treatments, moving towards more personalized and precise medicine.

Moreover, the research team is delving deeper, investigating the role of the gut microbiome in tryptophan metabolism and its interaction with the immune system.

This line of inquiry is not only about pinpointing a deficiency but exploring how to counteract it—potentially by supplementing the diet with metabolic products of tryptophan to quell inflammation.

The PMI’s work on tryptophan and chronic inflammation underscores a broader ambition: to unearth common threads in the fabric of various inflammatory diseases, regardless of the specific organs they afflict.

The identification of tryptophan as a universal biomarker across different conditions is a testament to this endeavor.

As the research community awaits further clinical trials to validate tryptophan’s role fully, the excitement is palpable. This amino acid, so essential to our diets, might soon prove equally vital in diagnosing and treating the hidden fires of inflammation burning within.

The implications for patients living with chronic inflammatory diseases could be profound, offering a beacon of hope for more effective management and perhaps, one day, prevention.

If you care about health, please read studies that vitamin D can help reduce inflammation, and vitamin K could lower your heart disease risk by a third.

For more information about health, please see recent studies about new way to halt excessive inflammation, and results showing foods that could cause inflammation.

The research findings can be found in eBioMedicine.

Copyright © 2024 Knowridge Science Report. All rights reserved.