It has been shown that tryptophan 2,3-dioxygenase is expressed in a significant proportion of human tumors. In the same study, tryptophan 2,3-dioxygenase expression by tumors prevented their rejection by immunized mice. A tryptophan 2,3-dioxygenase inhibitor developed by the group restored the ability of these mice to reject tryptophan 2,3-dioxygenase-expressed tumors, demonstrating that tryptophan 2,3-dioxygenase inhibitors display potential in cancer therapy.
Another study showed that tryptophan 2,3-dioxygenase is potentially involved in the metabolic pathway responsible for anxiety-related behavior. Generating mice deficient for tryptophan 2,3-dioxygenase and comparing them to the wild type, the group found that the tryptophan 2,3-dioxygenase-deficient mice showed increased plasma levels not only of tryptophan, but also of serotonin and 5-HIAA in the hippocampus and midbrain. A variety of tests, such as elevated plus maze and open-field tests showed anxiolytic modulation in these knock-out mice, the findings demonstrating a direct link between tryptophan 2,3-dioxygenase and tryptophan metabolism and anxiety-related behavior under physiological conditions.
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