Journal Articles

Publication Date





OBJECTIVE: Tryptophan can be catabolised to various metabolites through host kynurenine and microbial indole pathways. We aimed to examine relationships of host and microbial tryptophan metabolites with incident type 2 diabetes (T2D), host genetics, diet and gut microbiota.

METHOD: We analysed associations between circulating levels of 11 tryptophan metabolites and incident T2D in 9180 participants of diverse racial/ethnic backgrounds from five cohorts. We examined host genome-wide variants, dietary intake and gut microbiome associated with these metabolites.

RESULTS: Tryptophan, four kynurenine-pathway metabolites (kynurenine, kynurenate, xanthurenate and quinolinate) and indolelactate were positively associated with T2D risk, while indolepropionate was inversely associated with T2D risk. We identified multiple host genetic variants, dietary factors, gut bacteria and their potential interplay associated with these T2D-relaetd metabolites. Intakes of fibre-rich foods, but not protein/tryptophan-rich foods, were the dietary factors most strongly associated with tryptophan metabolites. The fibre-indolepropionate association was partially explained by indolepropionate-associated gut bacteria, mostly fibre-using

CONCLUSION: Higher milk intake among lactase non-persistent individuals, and higher fibre intake were associated with a favourable profile of circulating tryptophan metabolites for T2D, potentially through the host-microbial cross-talk shifting tryptophan metabolism toward gut microbial indolepropionate production.


Bacteria, Cohort Studies, Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2, Diet, Gastrointestinal Microbiome, Humans, Kynurenine, Lactase, Tryptophan



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.