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Eur J Immunol. 2008 Jun;38(6):1631-42. doi: 10.1002/eji.200738047.

Human CD4(+) T cells maintain specific functions even under conditions of extremely restricted ATP production.

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1
Department of Rheumatology and Clinical Immunology, Charité University Medicine, Berlin, Germany.

Abstract

We investigated the energy-adaptive potential of human CD4(+) T cells under conditions of impaired oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) and/or low glucose (inhibiting glycolysis). These cells often encounter these conditions when executing their functions in injured/inflamed tissues, even though T cells themselves require constant and adequate energy supply via ATP. We assessed two specific functions, cytokine synthesis and proliferation, and addressed whether adaptive characteristics also emerged in vivo. In glucose-containing medium, both cytokine production and proliferation were unaffected, even under complete OXPHOS suppression. Only when glucose was also absent were these functions significantly decreased. Partial recovery of OXPHOS and induced glycolysis were crucial for the maintenance of cellular energy supply. Adaptive regulatory mechanisms are clinically relevant because hypoxia up-regulates glycolytic genes but down-regulates OXPHOS genes in vivo. Our data demonstrate an unexpectedly high, clinically relevant adaptive potential of human CD4(+) T cells to maintain specific functions even under severely impaired bioenergetic conditions.

PMID:
18493983
DOI:
10.1002/eji.200738047
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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