Journal of leukocyte biology

mTOR signaling disruption from myeloid-derived suppressive cells protects against immune-mediated hepatic injury through the HIF1α-dependent glycolytic pathway.

PMID 27462101


The mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR) pathway integrates diverse environmental inputs, including immune signals and metabolic cues, to direct innate and adaptive immune responses. Myeloid-derived suppressive cells (MDSCs) are a heterogeneous cell population that plays a crucial regulatory effect in immune-related diseases. However, whether mTOR signaling affects the functions of MDSCs remains largely unexplored. Here, we show that mTOR signaling is a pivotal, negative determinant of MDSC function in immune-mediated hepatic injury (IMH) diseases. In the context of IMH, the blocking of mTOR with rapamycin or mTOR-deficient CD11b(+)Gr1(+) MDSCs mediates the protection against IMH; mTOR with rapamycin and mTOR-deficient CD11b(+)Gr1(+) MDSCs are suppressive immune modulators that result in less IFN-γ-producing TH1 cells and more Foxp3(+) Tregs Mechanistically, mTOR activity down-regulation in MDSCs induced iNOS expressions and NO productions. Pharmacologic inhibitions of iNOS completely eliminate MDSC-suppressive function and lose their inducible effects on T cell differentiation. Importantly, HIF1α-dependent glycolytic activity is responsible for mTOR-deficient, increased MDSC functional changes in IMH inflammation. Thus, these data demonstrate that mTOR acts as a fundamental "rheostat" in MDSCs to link immunologic signals to glycolytic pathways and functional fitness and highlights a central role of metabolic programming of MDSC-suppressive activity in protecting against immune hepatic injuries.

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