Leptin directly promotes T-cell glycolytic metabolism to drive effector T-cell differentiation in a mouse model of autoimmunity.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

Upon activation, T cells require energy for growth, proliferation, and function. Effector T (Teff) cells, such as Th1 and Th17 cells, utilize high levels of glycolytic metabolism to fuel proliferation and function. In contrast, Treg cells require oxidative metabolism to fuel suppressive function. It remains unknown how Teff/Treg-cell metabolism is altered when nutrients are limited and leptin levels are low. We therefore examined the role of malnutrition and associated hypoleptinemia on Teff versus Treg cells. We found that both malnutrition-associated hypoleptinemia and T cell-specific leptin receptor knockout suppressed Teff-cell number, function, and glucose metabolism, but did not alter Treg-cell metabolism or suppressive function. Using the autoimmune mouse model EAE, we confirmed that fasting-induced hypoleptinemia altered Teff-cell, but not Treg-cell, glucose metabolism, and function in vivo, leading to decreased disease severity. To explore potential mechanisms, we examined HIF-1α, a key regulator of Th17 differentiation and Teff-cell glucose metabolism, and found HIF-1α expression was decreased in T cell-specific leptin receptor knockout Th17 cells, and in Teff cells from fasted EAE mice, but was unchanged in Treg cells. Altogether, these data demonstrate a selective, cell-intrinsic requirement for leptin to upregulate glucose metabolism and maintain function in Teff, but not Treg cells.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Gerriets, VA; Danzaki, K; Kishton, RJ; Eisner, W; Nichols, AG; Saucillo, DC; Shinohara, ML; MacIver, NJ

Published Date

  • August 2016

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 46 / 8

Start / End Page

  • 1970 - 1983

PubMed ID

  • 27222115

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC5154618

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1521-4141

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1002/eji.201545861


  • eng

Conference Location

  • Germany