Metabolic fuelling of proper T cell functions

Immunol Lett. 2014 Oct;161(2):174-8. doi: 10.1016/j.imlet.2013.12.012. Epub 2013 Dec 21.


The interplay of the immune system with other aspects of physiology is one of the hottest topics of the recent literature. A crucial example is the influence of metabolic cues on immune responses. It is now well accepted that upon activation, T lymphocytes take on a metabolic profile profoundly distinct from that of their quiescent and anergic counterparts; in these sense, T cell metabolism is highly dynamic and has a serious impact on the ability of T cell to grow, activate and differentiate. Specific metabolic pathways provide energy and biosynthetic precursors able to support specific T cell functions, such as effector, regulatory and memory. Here, we review the main signaling pathways that control metabolism and how the metabolic phenotypes of T cell subtypes integrate with their specific function.

Keywords: Adipose tissue; Metabolism; T cell; Tolerance; Treg cell.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Glycolysis
  • Humans
  • Immunomodulation
  • Lipid Metabolism
  • Lymphocyte Activation
  • Metabolic Networks and Pathways
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • Signal Transduction
  • T-Lymphocyte Subsets / immunology*
  • T-Lymphocyte Subsets / metabolism*
  • TOR Serine-Threonine Kinases


  • TOR Serine-Threonine Kinases