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Kynurenine pathway alteration in acute pancreatitis and its role as a biomarker of infected necrosis.

INTRODUCTION: Infected pancreatic necrosis (IPN) is a major cause of mortality in acute pancreatitis (AP). Currently, no specific strategies are available to predict the development of IPN. Earlier we reported that persistent down-regulation of HLA-DR increases risk of developing IPN. Altered kynurenine pathway (KP) metabolites showed poor prognosis in sepsis. Here we evaluated the role of HLA-DR and KP in IPN.

METHODS: Patients with ANP and healthy controls were enrolled. Demographic and clinical parameters were recorded. Circulating interleukin (IL)-8, 6, 1β, 10, Tumor necrosis factor-α were quantified using flowcytometry. Plasma procalcitonin, endotoxin, and KP (tryptophan, kynurenine) concentrations were estimated using ELISA. qRT-PCR was conducted to evaluate mRNA expression of HLA-DR, IL-10, Toll like receptor-4 (TLR-4), and kynurenine-3-monooxygenase (KMO) genes on peripheral blood mononuclear cells. Plasma metabolites were quantified using gas chromatography mass spectrometry (GC-MS/MS). Standard statistical methods were used to compare study groups. Metaboanalyst was used to analyse/visualize the metabolomics data.

RESULTS: We recruited 56 patients in Cohort-1 (IPN:26,Non-IPN:30), 78 in Cohort-2 (IPN:57,Non-IPN:21), 26 healthy controls. Increased cytokines, endotoxin, and procalcitonin were observed in patients with IPN compared to Non-IPN. HLA-DR and KMO gene expressions were significantly down-regulated in IPN groups, showed positive correlation with one another but negatively correlated with IL-6 and endotoxin concentrations. Increased IDO and decreased plasma tryptophan were observed in IPN patients. Metabolome analysis showed significant reduction in several essential amino acids including tryptophan in IPN patients. Tryptophan, at a concentration of 9 mg/ml showed an AUC of 91.9 (95%CI 86.5-97.4) in discriminating IPN.

CONCLUSION: HLA-DR downregulation and KP alteration are related to IPN. The KP metabolite plasma tryptophan can act as a potential biomarker for IPN.

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