Background/aimsPatients with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) often report poor sleep quality. Whether poor sleep is associated with tryptophan (Trp) metabolites is unknown. We compared serum Trp metabolites in women with IBS and healthy controls (HCs) using targeted liquid chromatography mass spectrometry (LC-MS)-based profiling. In IBS only, we explored whether Trp metabolites are associated with IBS symptoms and subjective and objective sleep indices, serum cortisol, plasma adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH), and cortisol/ACTH levels.
MethodsBlood samples were obtained every 80 minutes in 21 HCs and 38 IBS subjects following an anticipation-of-public-speaking stressor during a sleep laboratory protocol. Subjects completed symptom diaries for 28 days. Adjacent values of metabolites were averaged to represent 4 time-periods: awake, early sleep, mid-sleep, and mid-to-late sleep. Thirteen of 20 targeted Trp metabolites were identified.
ResultsTen of 13 Trp metabolites decreased across the night, while nicotinamide increased in both groups. A MANOVA omnibus test performed after principal component analysis showed a significant difference in these 13 principal component (P = 0.014) between groups. Compared to HCs, nicotinamide levels were higher and indole-3-lactic acid levels lower in the IBS group. Melatonin and indole-3-acetic acid levels were associated with several subjective/objective sleep measures; decreased stool consistency/frequency and abdominal pain were positively associated with melatonin and serotonin in the IBS group. The kynurenine and kynurenic acid were associated with ACTH (positively) and cortisol/ACTH (negatively).
ConclusionNighttime Trp metabolites may provide clues to poor sleep and stress with IBS. Further study of the mechanism of metabolite action is warranted.
SUBMITTER: Burr RL