Metabolic and immunologic control of intestinal cell function by mTOR

Int Immunol. 2020 Jun 26;32(7):455-465. doi: 10.1093/intimm/dxaa015.


The intestinal epithelium is one of the most quickly dividing tissues in our body, combining the absorptive advantages of a single layer with the protection of a constantly renewing barrier. It is continuously exposed to nutrients and commensal bacteria as well as microbial and host-derived metabolites, but also to hazards such as pathogenic bacteria and toxins. These environmental cues are sensed by the mucosa and a vast repertory of immune cells, especially macrophages. A disruption of intestinal homeostasis in terms of barrier interruption can lead to inflammatory bowel diseases and colorectal cancer, and macrophages have an important role in restoring epithelial function following injury. The mammalian/mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR) signalling pathway senses environmental cues and integrates metabolic responses. It has emerged as an important regulator of intestinal functions in homeostasis and disease. In this review, we are going to discuss intestinal mTOR signalling and metabolic regulation in different intestinal cell populations with a special focus on immune cells and their actions on intestinal function.

Keywords: colon cancer; epithelial regeneration; immunometabolism; inflammatory bowel disease; macrophages.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Intestines / cytology
  • Intestines / immunology*
  • Signal Transduction / immunology
  • TOR Serine-Threonine Kinases / immunology*
  • TOR Serine-Threonine Kinases / metabolism*


  • MTOR protein, human
  • TOR Serine-Threonine Kinases