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The aim of the present study was to investigate possible associations between interleukin-6 (IL-6), interferon-gamma (INF-γ), tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α), lactoferrin and lipopolysaccharide binding protein (LBP) with TRP metabolism and signs of depression in a large cohort of outpatients referred for carbohydrate malabsorption testing. Serum concentrations of IL-6, INF-γ, TNF-α, lactoferrin, LBP, tryptophan (TRP), kynurenine (KYN) and kynuric acid were determined in 250 adults referred for lactose and fructose malabsorption testing. All participants filled out the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI). Serum IL-6 levels were positively correlated with the BDI score (p = 0.001, ρ = 0.205) and indicators of TRP metabolism (KYN/TRP ratio, KYN) (P-values < 0.05, ρ = 0.176 and 0.136). Ninety-five individuals with a BDI score > 13 showed significantly higher IL-6 serum levels (1.7 [1.0 – 2.8] vs. 1.1 [0.8 – 1.7] pg/mL, p < 0.001) compared to 115 individuals with a BDI score ≤ 13. LBP showed a positive correlation with the KYN/TRP ratio (p = 0.005, ρ = 0.177). IL-6 and LBP were associated with indicators of TRP metabolism. IL-6 was found to be linked to signs of depression. Individuals with the presence of depressive symptoms showed higher serum IL-6 levels compared to individuals without depressive symptoms.
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