Microenvironmental influences on T cell immunity in cancer and inflammation

Cell Mol Immunol. 2022 Mar;19(3):316-326. doi: 10.1038/s41423-021-00833-2. Epub 2022 Jan 17.


T cell metabolism is dynamic and highly regulated. While the intrinsic metabolic programs of T cell subsets are integral to their distinct differentiation and functional patterns, the ability of cells to acquire nutrients and cope with hostile microenvironments can limit these pathways. T cells must function in a wide variety of tissue settings, and how T cells interpret these signals to maintain an appropriate metabolic program for their demands or if metabolic mechanisms of immune suppression restrain immunity is an area of growing importance. Both in inflamed and cancer tissues, a wide range of changes in physical conditions and nutrient availability are now acknowledged to shape immunity. These include fever and increased temperatures, depletion of critical micro and macro-nutrients, and accumulation of inhibitory waste products. Here we review several of these factors and how the tissue microenvironment both shapes and constrains immunity.

Keywords: T cell; cancer; immunometabolism; inflammation; microenvironment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Inflammation
  • Neoplasms*
  • T-Lymphocyte Subsets
  • Tumor Microenvironment