Send to

Choose Destination
Nat Rev Immunol. 2018 Jan;18(1):19-34. doi: 10.1038/nri.2017.99. Epub 2017 Sep 25.

The spectrum of T cell metabolism in health and disease.

Bantug GR1, Galluzzi L2,3,4, Kroemer G4,5,6,7,8,9,10, Hess C1.

Author information

Immunobiology, Department of Biomedicine, University and University Hospital of Basel, Hebelstrasse 20, Basel 4031, Switzerland.
Department of Radiation Oncology, Weill Cornell Medical College, New York, 10065 New York, USA.
Sandra and Edward Meyer Cancer Center, New York, 10065 New York, USA.
Université Paris Descartes, Paris V, 75006 Paris, France.
Université Pierre et Marie Curie, Paris VI, 75006 Paris, France.
Equipe 11 labellisée par la Ligue contre le Cancer, Centre de Recherche des Cordeliers, 75006 Paris, France.
INSERM, U1138, 75006 Paris, France.
Metabolomics and Cell Biology Platforms, Gustave Roussy Comprehensive Cancer Institute, 94805 Villejuif, France.
Pôle de Biologie, Hôpital Européen George Pompidou, AP-HP, 75015 Paris, France.
Department of Women's and Children's Health, Karolinska University Hospital, 17176 Stockholm, Sweden.


In healthy individuals, metabolically quiescent T cells survey lymph nodes and peripheral tissues in search of cognate antigens. During infection, T cells that encounter cognate antigens are activated and - in a context-specific manner - proliferate and/or differentiate to become effector T cells. This process is accompanied by important changes in cellular metabolism (known as metabolic reprogramming). The magnitude and spectrum of metabolic reprogramming as it occurs in T cells in the context of acute infection ensure host survival. By contrast, altered T cell metabolism, and hence function, is also observed in various disease states, in which T cells actively contribute to pathology. In this Review, we introduce the idea that the spectrum of immune cell metabolic states can provide a basis for categorizing human diseases. Specifically, we first summarize the metabolic and interlinked signalling requirements of T cells responding to acute infection. We then discuss how metabolic reprogramming of T cells is linked to disease.


Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Nature Publishing Group
Loading ...
Support Center