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Altered tryptophan metabolism as a paradigm for good and bad aspects of immune privilege in chronic inflammatory diseases

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Lei HuangORCiD, Dr Henrique De Paula LemosORCiD, Emeritus Professor Andrew MellorORCiD


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The term “immune privilege” was coined to describe weak immunogenicity (hypo-immunity) that manifests in some transplant settings. We extended this concept to encompass hypo-immunity that manifests at local sites of inflammation relevant to clinical diseases. Here, we focus on emerging evidence that enhanced tryptophan catabolism is a key metabolic process that promotes and sustains induced immune privilege, and discuss the implications for exploiting this knowledge to improve treatments for hypo-immune and hyper-immune syndromes using strategies to manipulate tryptophan metabolism.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Li L, Huang L, Lemos HP, Mautino M, Mellor AL

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Frontiers in Immunology

Year: 2012

Volume: 3

Issue: 109

Online publication date: 11/05/2012

ISSN (electronic): 1664-3224

Publisher: Frontiers Research Foundation


DOI: 10.3389/fimmu.2012.00109

PubMed id: 22593757


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