Multiple faces of succinate beyond metabolism in blood

Haematologica. 2018 Oct;103(10):1586-1592. doi: 10.3324/haematol.2018.196097. Epub 2018 Jun 28.


Succinate is an essential intermediate of the tricarboxylic acid cycle that exerts pleiotropic roles beyond metabolism in both physiological and pathological conditions. Recent evidence obtained in mouse models shows its essential role regulating blood cell function through various mechanisms that include pseudohypoxia responses by hypoxia-inducible factor-1α activation, post-translational modifications like succinylation, and communication mediated by succinate receptor 1. Hence, succinate links metabolism to processes like gene expression and intercellular communication. Interestingly, succinate plays key dual roles during inflammatory responses, leading to net inflammation or anti-inflammation depending on factors like the cellular context. Here, we further discuss current suggestions of the possible contribution of succinate to blood stem cell function and blood formation. Further study will be required in the future to better understand succinate biology in blood cells. This promising field may open new avenues to modulate inflammatory responses and to preserve blood cell homeostasis in the clinical setting.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Gene Expression Regulation / physiology*
  • Hematopoietic Stem Cells / cytology
  • Hematopoietic Stem Cells / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Hypoxia-Inducible Factor 1, alpha Subunit / metabolism
  • Protein Processing, Post-Translational / physiology*
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled / metabolism
  • Succinic Acid / metabolism*


  • HIF1A protein, human
  • Hypoxia-Inducible Factor 1, alpha Subunit
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled
  • Succinic Acid