Physical or mental stress leads to neuroplasticity in the brain and increases the risk of depression and anxiety. Stress exposure causes the dysfunction of peripheral T lymphocytes. However, the pathological role and underlying regulatory mechanism of peripheral T lymphocytes in mood disorders have not been well established. Here, we show that the lack of CD4+ T cells protects mice from stress-induced anxiety-like behavior. Physical stress-induced leukotriene B4 triggers severe mitochondrial fission in CD4+ T cells, which further leads to a variety of behavioral abnormalities including anxiety, depression, and social disorders. Metabolomic profiles and single-cell transcriptome reveal that CD4+ T cell-derived xanthine acts on oligodendrocytes in the left amygdala via adenosine receptor A1. Mitochondrial fission promotes the de novo synthesis of purine via interferon regulatory factor 1 accumulation in CD4+ T cells. Our study implicates a critical link between a purine metabolic disorder in CD4+ T cells and stress-driven anxiety-like behavior.
Keywords: AdorA1; IRF-1; T cell; amygdala; anxiety; leukotriene B4; purine metabolism; stress; xanthine.
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