25-Hydroxycholesterol regulates lysosome AMP kinase activation and metabolic reprogramming to educate immunosuppressive macrophages

Immunity. 2024 May 14;57(5):1087-1104.e7. doi: 10.1016/j.immuni.2024.03.021. Epub 2024 Apr 18.


Macrophages are critical to turn noninflamed "cold tumors" into inflamed "hot tumors". Emerging evidence indicates abnormal cholesterol metabolites in the tumor microenvironment (TME) with unclear function. Here, we uncovered the inducible expression of cholesterol-25-hydroxylase (Ch25h) by interleukin-4 (IL-4) and interleukin-13 (IL-13) via the transcription factor STAT6, causing 25-hydroxycholesterol (25HC) accumulation. scRNA-seq analysis confirmed that CH25Hhi subsets were enriched in immunosuppressive macrophage subsets and correlated to lower survival rates in pan-cancers. Targeting CH25H abrogated macrophage immunosuppressive function to enhance infiltrating T cell numbers and activation, which synergized with anti-PD-1 to improve anti-tumor efficacy. Mechanically, lysosome-accumulated 25HC competed with cholesterol for GPR155 binding to inhibit the kinase mTORC1, leading to AMPKα activation and metabolic reprogramming. AMPKα also phosphorylated STAT6 Ser564 to enhance STAT6 activation and ARG1 production. Together, we propose CH25H as an immunometabolic checkpoint, which manipulates macrophage fate to reshape CD8+ T cell surveillance and anti-tumor response.

Keywords: 25-hydroxycholesterol; AMPK; CH25H; M2-like macrophage; STAT6; cholesterol matabolism; oxysterol; tumor immunotherapy; tumor-associated macrophage.

MeSH terms

  • Adenylate Kinase / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Hydroxycholesterols* / metabolism
  • Lysosomes* / metabolism
  • Macrophages* / immunology
  • Macrophages* / metabolism
  • Mechanistic Target of Rapamycin Complex 1 / metabolism
  • Metabolic Reprogramming
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • STAT6 Transcription Factor / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction
  • Tumor Microenvironment* / immunology