Inhibition of glucose metabolism selectively targets autoreactive follicular helper T cells

Seung Chul Choi, Anton A. Titov, Georges Abboud, Howard R. Seay, Todd M. Brusko, Derry C. Roopenian, Shahram Salek-Ardakani, Laurence Morel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

92 Scopus citations


Follicular helper T (TFH) cells are expanded in systemic lupus erythematosus, where they are required to produce high affinity autoantibodies. Eliminating TFH cells would, however compromise the production of protective antibodies against viral and bacterial pathogens. Here we show that inhibiting glucose metabolism results in a drastic reduction of the frequency and number of TFH cells in lupus-prone mice. However, this inhibition has little effect on the production of T-cell-dependent antibodies following immunization with an exogenous antigen or on the frequency of virus-specific TFH cells induced by infection with influenza. In contrast, glutaminolysis inhibition reduces both immunization-induced and autoimmune TFH cells and humoral responses. Solute transporter gene signature suggests different glucose and amino acid fluxes between autoimmune TFH cells and exogenous antigen-specific TFH cells. Thus, blocking glucose metabolism may provide an effective therapeutic approach to treat systemic autoimmunity by eliminating autoreactive TFH cells while preserving protective immunity against pathogens.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number4369
JournalNature communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 2018
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Physics and Astronomy


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