Plasma homocysteine and immune activation in patients with malignant melanoma undergoing treatment with IFN-α

Barbara Frick, Lucile Capuron, Katharina Schröcksnadel, Dominique L. Musselman, David H. Lawson, Charles B. Nemeroff, Andrew H. Miller, Dietmar Fuchs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Scopus citations

Abstract

Immune activation and cell proliferation may contribute to the development of increased homocysteine concentrations in patients with malignant diseases. In this study, we investigated the effect of interferon-α (IFN-α) on plasma homocysteine concentrations in patients being treated for malignant melanoma. In parallel, neopterin formation and tryptophan degradation were monitored to assess the capacity of IFN-α to activate macrophages. Plasma concentrations of homocysteine, folate, and vitamin B12 were determined in 15 patients with malignant melanoma during 12 weeks of high-dose IFN-α therapy. Concurrently, concentrations of neopterin, tryptophan, and kynurenine were measured, and the kynurenine/tryptophan ratio (kyn/trp) was calculated. Homocysteine and folate concentrations during treatment with IFN-α did not differ from baseline. In contrast, significant increases in neopterin formation and tryptophan degradation were apparent during IFN-α therapy. Plasma concentrations of vitamin B12 and cysteine also increased. These results indicate that IFN-α directly activates macrophages to release neopterin and to degrade tryptophan, but obviously treatment with INF-α did not affect homocysteine metabolism.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)311-317
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Interferon and Cytokine Research
Volume24
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - May 1 2004
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Cell Biology
  • Virology

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