Photosensitized Oxidation of Tryptophan and Hepatic Dysfunction in Neonatal Gerbils

Jatinder Bhatia, David K. Rassin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Hepatic dysfunction is a common metabolic complication of parenteral nutrition. Studies in animals have suggested that several amino acids, especially tryptophan, may play a role in the development of hepatic dysfunction. Further, photoirradiation of amino acids in the presence of photosensitizers, such as riboflavin, causes photooxidative changes in several amino acids. The present study was undertaken to determine the effect of tryptophan, after photoirradiation in the presence of riboflavin, on hepatic function in neonatal gerbils. Two-week-old suckling gerbils received approximately 4 mmol/kg/day of light-exposed or nonlight-exposed tryptophan or received saline intraperitoneally for 4 days. An increase in the activity of serum γ-glutamyl transpeptidase was found in gerbils receiving both light-exposed and nonlight-exposed tryptophan compared to control. Concentrations of tryptophan were significantly higher in animals receiving saline than in the other two groups. There were no significant differences in the major tissue amino acids among the three groups of animals. Our data suggest the role of photosensitized oxidation of tryptophan in the pathogenesis of hepatic dysfunction in neonatal gerbils. It is possible that similar photooxidation occurring during infusion of parenteral amino acid solutions containing vitamins exposed to constant illumination in the newborn nursery is responsible for the observed hepatic dysfunction in parenterally fed neonates. (Journal of Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition 9:491-495, 1985).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)491-495
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1985
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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