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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Oxindole, a sedative tryptophan metabolite, accumulates in blood and brain of rats with acute hepatic failure.

Rats treated with oxindole (10-100 mg/kg i.p.), a putative tryptophan metabolite, showed decreased spontaneous locomotor activity, loss of the righting reflex, hypotension, and reversible coma. Brain oxindole levels were 0.05 +/- 0.01 nmol/g in controls and increased to 8.1 +/- 1.7 or 103 +/- 15 nmol/g after its administration at doses of 10 or 100 mg/kg i.p., respectively. To study the role that oxindole plays in the neurological symptoms associated with acute liver failure, we measured the changes of its concentration in the brain after massive liver damage, and we investigated the possible metabolic pathways leading to its synthesis. Rats treated with either thioacetamide (0.2 and 0.4 g/kg i.p., twice) or galactosamine (1 and 2 g/kg i.p.) showed acute liver failure and a large increase in blood or brain oxindole concentrations (from 0.05 +/- 0.01 nmol/g in brains of controls to 1.8 +/- 0.3 nmol/g in brains of thioacetamide-treated animals). Administration of tryptophan (300-1,000 mg/kg p.o.) caused a twofold increase, whereas administration of indole (10-100 mg/kg p.o.) caused a 200-fold increase, of oxindole content in liver, blood, and brain, thus suggesting that indole formation from tryptophan is a limiting step in oxindole synthesis. Oral administration of neomycin, a broad-spectrum, locally acting antibiotic agent able to reduce intestinal flora, significantly decreased brain oxindole content. Taken together, our data show that oxindole is a neurodepressant tryptophan metabolite and suggest that it may play a significant role in the neurological symptoms associated with acute liver impairment.[1]


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