Sodium butyrate and indole-3-propionic acid prevent the increase of cytokines and kynurenine levels in LPS-induced human primary astrocytes

Michelle L. Garcez, Vanessa X. Tan, Benjamin Heng, Gilles J. Guillemin*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)
44 Downloads (Pure)


The crosstalk between central nervous system (CNS) and gut microbiota plays key roles in neuroinflammation and chronic immune activation that are common features of all neurodegenerative diseases. Imbalance in the microbiota can lead to an increase in the intestinal permeability allowing toxins to diffuse and reach the CNS, as well as impairing the production of neuroprotective metabolites such as sodium butyrate (SB) and indole-3-propionic acid (IPA). The aim of the present study was to evaluate the effect of SB and IPA on LPS-induced production of cytokines and tryptophan metabolites in human astrocytes. Primary cultures of human astrocytes were pre-incubated with SB or IPA for 1 hour before treatment with LPS. Cell viability was not affected at 24, 48 or 72 hours after pre-treatment with SB, IPA or LPS treatment. SB was able to significantly prevent the increase of GM-CSF, MCP-1, IL-6 IL-12, and IL-13 triggered by LPS. SB and IPA also prevented inflammation indicated by the increase in kynurenine and kynurenine/tryptophan ratio induced by LPS treatment. IPA pre-treatment prevented the LPS-induced increase in MCP-1, IL-12, IL-13, and TNF-α levels 24 hours after pre-treatment, but had no effect on tryptophan metabolites. The present study showed for the first time that bacterial metabolites SB and IPA have potential anti-inflammatory effect on primary human astrocytes with potential therapeutic benefit in neurodegenerative disease characterized by the presence of chronic low-grade inflammation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
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.


  • cytokines
  • inflammation
  • kynurenine pathway
  • Neurodegenerative diseases


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