Mitochondrial Sirtuin 4 Resolves Immune Tolerance in Monocytes by Rebalancing Glycolysis and Glucose Oxidation Homeostasis

Front Immunol. 2018 Mar 9:9:419. doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2018.00419. eCollection 2018.


The goal of this investigation was to define the molecular mechanism underlying physiologic conversion of immune tolerance to resolution of the acute inflammatory response, which is unknown. An example of this knowledge gap and its clinical importance is the broad-based energy deficit and immunometabolic paralysis in blood monocytes from non-survivors of human and mouse sepsis that precludes sepsis resolution. This immunometabolic dysregulation is biomarked by ex vivo endotoxin tolerance to increased glycolysis and TNF-α expression. To investigate how tolerance switches to resolution, we adapted our previously documented models associated with acute inflammatory, immune, and metabolic reprogramming that induces endotoxin tolerance as a model of sepsis in human monocytes. We report here that mitochondrial sirtuin 4 (SIRT4) physiologically breaks tolerance and resolves acute inflammation in human monocytes by coordinately reprogramming of metabolism and bioenergetics. We find that increased SIRT4 mRNA and protein expression during immune tolerance counters the increase in pyruvate dehydrogenase kinase 1 (PDK1) and SIRT1 that promote tolerance by switching glucose-dependent support of immune resistance to fatty acid oxidation support of immune tolerance. By decreasing PDK1, pyruvate dehydrogenase complex reactivation rebalances mitochondrial respiration, and by decreasing SIRT1, SIRT4 represses fatty acid oxidation. The precise mechanism for the mitochondrial SIRT4 nuclear feedback is unclear. Our findings are consistent with a new concept in which mitochondrial SIRT4 directs the axis that controls anabolic and catabolic energy sources.

Keywords: acute inflammatory resolution; glucose metabolic homeostasis; monocytes/macrophages; pyruvate dehydrogenase complex; pyruvate dehydrogenase kinase; sirtuin 4.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cellular Reprogramming
  • Energy Metabolism
  • Glucose / metabolism
  • Glycolysis
  • Homeostasis
  • Humans
  • Immune Tolerance
  • Mitochondria / metabolism*
  • Mitochondrial Proteins / metabolism*
  • Monocytes / physiology*
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • Protein Serine-Threonine Kinases / metabolism
  • Pyruvate Dehydrogenase Acetyl-Transferring Kinase
  • Sepsis / immunology*
  • Sirtuins / metabolism*
  • THP-1 Cells
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / metabolism


  • Mitochondrial Proteins
  • PDK1 protein, human
  • Pdk1 protein, mouse
  • Pyruvate Dehydrogenase Acetyl-Transferring Kinase
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha
  • Protein Serine-Threonine Kinases
  • SIRT4 protein, human
  • Sirtuins
  • Glucose