The relationship between indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase activity and post-stroke cognitive impairment
1 Neuropsychopharmacology Research Group, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
2 Brain Sciences Research Program, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
3 Heart and Stroke Foundation Centre for Stroke Recovery, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
4 Department of Pharmacology/Toxicology, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
5 Department of Medicine (Neurology), University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
6 Department of Medical Imaging (Neuroradiology), University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
7 Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
8 Department of Psychiatry, University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Journal of Neuroinflammation 2011, 8:17 doi:10.1186/1742-2094-8-17Published: 16 February 2011
Activation of indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase (IDO) and higher concentrations of several kynurenine metabolites have been observed post-stroke, where they have been associated with increased mortality. While lower tryptophan or a higher ratio of kynurenine/tryptophan (K/T) in peripheral blood have been associated with dementia and the severity of cognitive symptoms in Alzheimer's disease, the association between K/T ratios and post-stroke cognitive impairment (PSCI) has not been investigated.
Patients were recruited from the acute stroke unit of a general hospital within 1 month post-stroke. Assessments included the Standardized Mini-Mental State Examination (sMMSE) for cognition, the National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale (NIHSS) for stroke severity, and the Center for Epidemiological Studies-Depression Scale (CES-D) for depressive symptoms. Tryptophan and kynurenine concentrations were determined by high-performance liquid chromatography.
A total of 41 patients with ischemic stroke ([mean ± SD] age 72.3 ± 12.2 years, 53.7% male, sMMSE 25.6 ± 4.1, NIHSS 7.27 ± 5.55) were recruited. Higher K/T ratios were associated with lower post-stroke global cognition (i.e. sMMSE scores; β = -.327, P = .037). A backward stepwise elimination linear regression (F1,40=6.15, P=.005, adjusted R2=.205) showed that the highest K/T ratio tertile (β = -.412, P = .006) predicted lower sMMSE scores, controlling for age (β = -.253, p = .081), with NIHSS (β = -.027, P = 0.859), and lesion volume (β = -.066, P = 0.659) removed from the model. In receiver operating characteristic analysis, a K/T ratio of 78.3 μmol/mmol (top tertile) predicted significant cognitive impairment (sMMSE score ≤ 24) with 67% sensitivity and 86% specificity (area under the curve = 0.730, p = .022).
These data suggest an inflammatory response characterized by IDO activation may be relevant to the development of PSCI. Since the neuroactivity of kynurenine metabolites may be amenable to pharmacotherapeutic intervention, the K/T ratio may be a clinically important biomarker.