Stability studies of kynurenine pathway metabolites in blood components define optimal blood processing conditions

Benjamin Heng*, Ananda Staats Pires, Sharron Chow, Shivani Krishnamurthy, Brooke Bonnell, Sonia Bustamante, Gilles J. Guillemin

*Corresponding author for this work

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The kynurenine pathway (KP) is the main pathway of tryptophan (TRP) metabolism that generates energy for multiple cellular processes. The activity of this pathway has been shown to be dysregulated in multiple human diseases. The resultant modulation of metabolites has been suggested to comprise biomarkers to track disease progression or could identify new therapeutic targets. While metabolite changes can be measured readily in blood, there is limited knowledge on the effect of blood matrices and sample processing time may have on the stability of KP metabolites. Understanding the stability of KP metabolites in blood is integral to obtaining accurate KP data to correlate with clinical pathology. Hence, the aim of this study was to assess the concentration of KP metabolites in matched whole blood, plasma and serum. The impact of pre-analytical sample processing time in the various blood matrices was also analysed. Serum and plasma had the higher concentration of KP metabolites compared to whole blood. Furthermore, concentrations of KP metabolites declined when the collected blood was processed after 24 hours storage at 4°C. Our study shows that that type of blood matrix and the time to processing have an impact on the stability of the KP metabolites. Serum or plasma are the preferred choice of matrix and the isolation of these matrices from whole blood is best performed immediately after collection for optimal analytical KP data.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Tryptophan Research
Publication statusPublished - 15 Dec 2023

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s) 2023. 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.


  • analytical chemistry
  • Biochemistry
  • kynurenine pathway
  • serotonin
  • tryptophan


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