Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is an autoimmune disease accompanied by increased release of proinflammatory cytokines that are known to activate the indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase (IDO-1) enzyme, which catalyzes the rate-limiting step of the kynurenine pathway (KP). This study aimed to measure KP metabolite levels in patients with SLE and investigate the relationship between disease activity, clinical findings, and KP. The study included 100 patients with SLE and 100 healthy controls. Serum tryptophan (TRP), kynurenine (KYN), kynurenic acid (KYNA), 3-hydroxyanthranilic acid (3HAA), 3-hydroxykynurenine (3HK), quinolinic acid (QA) concentrations were measured with tandem mass spectrometry. Serum KYN, KYNA, 3HAA, 3HK, and QA levels of the patients with SLE were significantly higher than the control group. Serum QA levels were elevated in patients with neurological involvement (four patients with peripheral neuropathy and two patients with mononeuropathy), serum KYN levels and KYN/TRP ratio increased in patients with joint involvement, and serum KYN, 3HK, and 3HAA levels and the KYN/TRP ratio were increased in patients with renal involvement. Moreover, KYN and KYN/TRP ratios were positively correlated with the disease activity score. These findings indicated that imbalances in KP metabolites may be associated with the pathogenesis, activation, and clinical manifestations of SLE.© 2023. The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer-Verlag GmbH Austria, part of Springer Nature.