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Nat Immunol. 2016 Apr;17(4):364-8. doi: 10.1038/ni.3415.

Emerging concepts of T cell metabolism as a target of immunotherapy.

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Department of Pathology and Immunology, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, Missouri, USA.
Department of Immunometabolism, Max Planck Institute of Immunobiology and Epigenetics, Freiburg, Germany.


T cells have a pivotal protective role in defense against infection and cancer but also are instrumental in the development of many autoimmune diseases. The regulation of nutrient uptake and utilization in T cells is critically important for the control of their differentiation, and manipulating metabolic pathways in these cells can alter their function and longevity. While the importance of T cell metabolic remodeling in different physiological settings is not fully understood, there is a growing realization that inappropriate metabolic remodeling underlies many aberrant immune responses and that manipulating cellular metabolism can beneficially enhance or temper immunity. Here we comment on the basic metabolic pathways in T cells, followed by a discussion on up-to-date findings about the relationship between metabolism and T cell function and longevity. Furthermore, we expand on potential approaches and applications in which T cells might be manipulated by the reprogramming of metabolic pathways for therapeutic purposes.

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