[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase (IDO) modifies adaptive immunity, in part, by determining the character of inflammatory responses in the tissue microenvironment. Small molecule inhibitors of IDO are being developed to treat cancer, chronic infections and other diseases, so the systemic effects of IDO disruption on inflammatory phenomena may influence the design and conduct of early phase clinical investigations of this new class of therapeutic agents. Here, we report cardiac and gastrointestinal phenotypes observed in IDO deficient mice that warrant consideration in planned assessments of the safety risks involved in clinical development of IDO inhibitors. Calcification of the cardiac endometrium proximal to the right ventricle was a sexually dimorphic strain-specific phenotype with ~30% penetrance in BALB/c mice lacking IDO. Administration of complete Freund's adjuvant containing Toll-like receptor ligands known to induce IDO caused acute pancreatitis in IDO deficient mice, with implications for the design of planned combination studies of IDO inhibitors with cancer vaccines. In an established model of hyperlipidemia, IDO deficiency caused a dramatic elevation in levels of serum triglycerides. In the large intestine, IDO loss only slightly increased sensitivity to induction of acute colitis, but it markedly elevated tumor incidence, multiplicity and staging during inflammatory colon carcinogenesis. Together, our findings suggest potential cardiac and gastrointestinal risks of IDO inhibitors that should be monitored in patients as this new class of drugs enter early clinical development.