Effects of sleep deprivation on the tryptophan metabolism

Abid Bhat, Ananda Staats Pires, Vanessa Tan, Saravana Babu Chidambaram*, Gilles J. Guillemin

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

    28 Citations (Scopus)
    66 Downloads (Pure)


    Sleep has a regulatory role in maintaining metabolic homeostasis and cellular functions. Inadequate sleep time and sleep disorders have become more prevalent in the modern lifestyle. Fragmentation of sleep pattern alters critical intracellular second messengers and neurotransmitters which have key functions in brain development and behavioral functions. Tryptophan metabolism has also been found to get altered in SD and it is linked to various neurodegenerative diseases. The kynurenine pathway is a major regulator of the immune response. Adequate sleep alleviates neuroinflammation and facilitates the cellular clearance of metabolic toxins produced within the brain, while sleep deprivation activates the enzymatic degradation of tryptophan via the kynurenine pathway, which results in an increased accumulation of neurotoxic metabolites. SD causes increased production and accumulation of kynurenic acid in various regions of the brain. Higher levels of kynurenic acid have been found to trigger apoptosis, leads to cognitive decline, and inhibit neurogenesis. This review aims to link the impact of sleep deprivation on tryptophan metabolism and associated complication in the brain.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1-7
    Number of pages7
    JournalInternational Journal of Tryptophan Research
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2020

    Bibliographical note

    Copyright the Author(s) 2020. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


    • brain
    • Kynurenic-acid
    • Kynurenine pathway
    • sleep deprivation


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