Tryptophan and Kynurenine Levels and Its Association With Sleep, Nonphysical Fatigue, and Depression in Chronic Hemodialysis Patients. Academic Article uri icon


  • Sleep and mood disorders are common in hemodialysis (HD) patients and the pathophysiology is still unclear. Tryptophan (TRP) and its metabolites may play a prominent role in neural pathways related to sleep, fatigue, and depression. Here, we sought to compare the levels of TRP and its metabolites between HD patients and healthy subjects and examine their association with sleep, fatigue, and depression in HD patients. The design was cross-sectional analysis.Ninety-nine adult patients on stable thrice weekly HD schedule between September 2011 and March 2014 and 10 healthy controls.Venous blood samples were drawn in healthy subjects and immediately before dialysis in chronic HD patients. TRP and kynurenine (KYN) metabolites were measured by high-performance liquid chromatography. The Medical Outcomes Study Sleep Scale, the PROMIS Short form Fatigue, and the Patient Health Questionnaire were administered concurrently.Sleep, fatigue, and depression as assessed by subjective questionnaire.TRP levels were significantly lower (52.4 ± 15.2 vs. 67.9 ± 3.1 μmol/L; P < .0001) and KYN (3.2 ± 1.2 vs. 1.4 ± 0.1 μmol/L; P < .0001) were significantly higher in the 99 HD patients relative to 10 healthy controls. In HD patients, higher KYN levels were correlated with worse depression and fatigue scores (r(2) = 0.23 and 0.21; P ≤ .05, respectively). We found no association between TRP and KYN/TRP ratio with sleep disturbances, fatigue, and depression in HD patients.Our study indicates disturbed TRP metabolism in HD patients, but low TRP levels were not related with sleep disturbances, depression, and fatigue. In contrast, KYN levels, a metabolite of TRP, were much higher in HD patients compared with controls, and higher KYN associated with depression and fatigue. Further studies exploring the biological and functional consequences of increased TRP catabolism in HD patients are warranted.Copyright © 2017 National Kidney Foundation, Inc. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

publication date

  • July 2017