Metabolic determinants of lupus pathogenesis

Xiangyu Teng, Josephine Brown, Seung Chul Choi, Wei Li, Laurence Morel

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


The metabolism of healthy murine and more recently human immune cells has been investigated with an increasing amount of details. These studies have revealed the challenges presented by immune cells to respond rapidly to a wide variety of triggers by adjusting the amount, type, and utilization of the nutrients they import. A concept has emerged that cellular metabolic programs regulate the size of the immune response and the plasticity of its effector functions. This has generated a lot of enthusiasm with the prediction that cellular metabolism could be manipulated to either enhance or limit an immune response. In support of this hypothesis, studies in animal models as well as human subjects have shown that the dysregulation of the immune system in autoimmune diseases is associated with a skewing of the immunometabolic programs. These studies have been mostly conducted on autoimmune CD4+ T cells, with the metabolism of other immune cells in autoimmune settings still being understudied. Here we discuss systemic metabolism as well as cellular immunometabolism as novel tools to decipher fundamental mechanisms of autoimmunity. We review the contribution of each major metabolic pathway to autoimmune diseases, with a focus on systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), with the relevant translational opportunities, existing or predicted from results obtained with healthy immune cells. Finally, we review how targeting metabolic programs may present novel therapeutic venues.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)167-186
Number of pages20
JournalImmunological Reviews
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 1 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • glucose
  • glutamine
  • lupus
  • metabolic inhibitors
  • metabolism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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