Dietary Intervention Impacts Immune Cell Functions and Dynamics by Inducing Metabolic Rewiring

Takuma Okawa, Motoyoshi Nagai, Koji Hase

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)


Accumulating evidence has shown that nutrient metabolism is closely associated with the differentiation and functions of various immune cells. Cellular metabolism, including aerobic glycolysis, fatty acid oxidation, and oxidative phosphorylation, plays a key role in germinal center (GC) reaction, B-cell trafficking, and T-cell-fate decision. Furthermore, a quiescent metabolic status consolidates T-cell-dependent immunological memory. Therefore, dietary interventions such as calorie restriction, time-restricted feeding, and fasting potentially manipulate immune cell functions. For instance, intermittent fasting prevents the development of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis. Meanwhile, the fasting response diminishes the lymphocyte pool in gut-associated lymphoid tissue to minimize energy expenditure, leading to the attenuation of Immunoglobulin A (IgA) response. The nutritional status also influences the dynamics of several immune cell subsets. Here, we describe the current understanding of the significance of immunometabolism in the differentiation and functionality of lymphocytes and macrophages. The underlying molecular mechanisms also are discussed. These experimental observations could offer new therapeutic strategies for immunological disorders like autoimmunity.

Original languageEnglish
Article number623989
JournalFrontiers in Immunology
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Feb 4


  • AMPK
  • GCN2
  • calorie restriction
  • dietary intervention
  • fasting
  • mTOR
  • metabolic rewiring

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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