Targeting metabolism as a novel therapeutic approach to autoimmunity, inflammation, and transplantation

Ian A. Bettencourt, Jonathan D. Powell

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Immune cell activation and differentiation occurs concurrently with metabolic reprogramming. This ensures that activated cells generate the energy and substrates necessary to perform their specified function. Likewise, the metabolic programs among different cells of the immune system vary. By targeting different metabolic pathways, these differences allow for selective regulation of immune responses. Further, the relative susceptibility of cells to a metabolic inhibitor is dictated by their metabolic demands; cellular selectivity is based on demand. Therefore, where differences exist in metabolic pathways between healthy and pathogenic cells, there is opportunity for selective regulation with agents lacking intrinsic specificity. There are now a host of studies demonstrating how inhibitors of metabolism (e.g., glycolysis, glutamine metabolism, and fatty acid oxidation) can regulate immune responses and treat immune-mediated pathogenesis. In this brief review we detail how inhibitors of metabolism can be employed to regulate immune responses in both autoimmunity and transplantation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)999-1005
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 1 2017
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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