Metabolites (Sep 2022)

Microbial Tryptophan Metabolism Tunes Host Immunity, Metabolism, and Extraintestinal Disorders

  • Moyan Liu,
  • Max Nieuwdorp,
  • Willem M. de Vos,
  • Elena Rampanelli

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 12, no. 9
p. 834


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The trillions of commensal microorganisms comprising the gut microbiota have received growing attention owing to their impact on host physiology. Recent advances in our understandings of the host–microbiota crosstalk support a pivotal role of microbiota-derived metabolites in various physiological processes, as they serve as messengers in the complex dialogue between commensals and host immune and endocrine cells. In this review, we highlight the importance of tryptophan-derived metabolites in host physiology, and summarize the recent findings on the role of tryptophan catabolites in preserving intestinal homeostasis and fine-tuning immune and metabolic responses. Furthermore, we discuss the latest evidence on the effects of microbial tryptophan catabolites, describe their mechanisms of action, and discuss how perturbations of microbial tryptophan metabolism may affect the course of intestinal and extraintestinal disorders, including inflammatory bowel diseases, metabolic disorders, chronic kidney diseases, and cardiovascular diseases.