MAR 18, 2016 01:19 PM PDT

New Component of Macrophage Metabolism Discovered

WRITTEN BY: Kara Marker
How are macrophage immune cells activated during an inflammatory response when pathogens invade? Scientists thought they knew this and more, but recent studies from the Luxembourg Centre for Systems Biomedicine (LCSB) at the University of Luxembourg discovered something different.
 
Upon activation, macrophage metabolism pathways lead to the production of antimicrobial substances and fatty acids which deliver important resources during an infection. With their new discoveries into how these pathways work, the researchers, who study was recently published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry may have also developed a new approach for treating chronic inflammatory diseases.
 
Macrophages are key immune cells of the innate immune system, the system of first-responder cells that react when pathogens invade. Macrophages are activated upon recognition of pathogen antigens or contact with cytokines, and their activation reprograms macrophage metabolism.
 
"A hungry macrophage"

Hif1 is important protein for this very metabolism reprogramming, but it is also known to exist in cases of cancer. Cancer cells exist in an oxygen-poor tumor environment, which stabilizes Hif1 and prevents the tumor from being degraded. This causes less pyruvate to be introduced into the citric acid cycle, which is vital for producing energy for the body to perform multiple functions.
 
Apparently, Hif1 is also found in its stabilized forms in activate macrophages even though it is not an oxygen-poor environment. Previously, scientists thought this meant the metabolic pathways stemming from macrophage activation were similar to cancer cell pathways. However, the recent study from the University of Luxembourg instead showed that macrophages are able to facilitate pyruvate into the citric acid cycle despite Hif1 stabilization, allowing energy production to continue like normal.
 
"Conversion of pyruvate is a pivotal step in the inflammatory event, and thus presents a starting point for developing anti-inflammatory therapies," said Karsten Hiller, PhD. "This would be helpful for diseases associated with an excessive inflammatory response, such as allergies or septic shock."
 
Because of their ability, macrophages can also produce an “endogenous antibiotic” called itaconic acid and fatty acids needed for macrophage growth.
 
 
Source: University of Luxembourg
 
About the Author
  • I am a scientific journalist and enthusiast, especially in the realm of biomedicine. I am passionate about conveying the truth in scientific phenomena and subsequently improving health and public awareness. Sometimes scientific research needs a translator to effectively communicate the scientific jargon present in significant findings. I plan to be that translating communicator, and I hope to decrease the spread of misrepresented scientific phenomena! Check out my science blog: ScienceKara.com.
You May Also Like
SEP 26, 2018
Immunology
SEP 26, 2018
What Superbug? A New Antibiotic Contender
Scientists from a biotechnology corporation, Genentech, have altered a protein that blocks a signaling pathway in gram-negative bacteria to engineer a new antibiotic, currently called G0775,...
OCT 08, 2018
Immunology
OCT 08, 2018
Nuclear Imaging: The Next Generation of Biopsy
A team of researchers has published their work in the Journal of Nuclear Medicine describing techniques with PET imaging as an alternative to biopsy methods....
NOV 05, 2018
Drug Discovery
NOV 05, 2018
Anti-Parasitic Drug Improves Long-term Clinical Outcomes in Chagas Disease
In a recent study published in PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases, an anti-parasite drug by the name of ‘benznidazole’ may hold potential in impr...
NOV 13, 2018
Immunology
NOV 13, 2018
What Do Heart Disease and Autoimmune Diseases Have in Common?
Researchers at Washington University identify the link between autoimmune diseases and heart disease in mouse model...
DEC 19, 2018
Immunology
DEC 19, 2018
Breast Cancer - Immunotherapy's Nemesis
Researchers find that breast cancer can evade immunotherapy...
JAN 15, 2019
Immunology
JAN 15, 2019
Stem Cells: Is a Clean Slate Always a Better Start?
A new USC and Stanford study, conducted in mice, deepens the mystery, showing that successfully transplanted stem cells don't behave "normally" as in a healthy person without a transplant....
Loading Comments...