University Of Tasmania

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Prebiotic and probiotic supplementation and the tryptophan-kynurenine pathway: a systematic review and meta analysis

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-20, 20:31 authored by Terry Purton, Staskova, L, Lane, MM, Dawson, SL, West, M, Firth, J, Clarke, G, Cryan, JF, Berk, M, ONeil, A, Dean, O, Hadi, A, Cynthia HonanCynthia Honan, Marx, W
This systematic review aimed to synthesise the results from studies investigating the effects of prebiotics and probiotics on kynurenine pathway metabolism. Thirteen studies were identified for inclusion, comprising 12 probiotic and two prebiotic arms. Participants included healthy individuals and individuals with various clinical conditions. Twelve metabolites were examined across the studies, using a range of biological samples. Across all interventions, 11 reported an effect on ≤ metabolite. Although limited by clinical and methodological heterogeneity, pooled analysis (n = 253) found probiotics to significantly affect serum kynurenine (g = 0.315, CI = 0.070 to 0.560, p = 0.012, 4 studies, I2 = 0%) and the kynurenine:tryptophan ratio (g = 0.442, CI = 0.074 to 0.810, p = 0.018, 4 studies, I2 = 42 %). Risk of bias across the studies was generally low. The results provide preliminary evidence that probiotics can modulate kynurenine pathway metabolism, with less evidence available regarding prebiotics. Future studies which further consider methodological confounds and sample characteristics are required, to establish intervention efficacy. PROSPERO registration #CRD42019154677.


Publication title

Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews








School of Health Sciences


Pergamon-Elsevier Science Ltd

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Prevention of human diseases and conditions; Treatment of human diseases and conditions