IDO decreases glycolysis and glutaminolysis by activating GCN2K, while it increases fatty acid oxidation by activating AhR, thus preserving CD4+ T‑cell survival and proliferation
- Theodoros Eleftheriadis
- Georgios Pissas
- Vassilios Liakopoulos
- Ioannis Stefanidis
Published online on: April 16, 2018
It is generally hypothesized in the literature that indoleamine 2,3‑dioxygenase (IDO), by degrading L‑tryptophan along the kynurenine pathway, suppresses CD4+ T‑cell function by inducing apoptosis, inhibiting proliferation and promoting differentiation towards a regulatory phenotype. These effects are either accompanied or directly lead to alterations in cell metabolism. The present study evaluated the pathways that govern the effect of IDO on the utilization of the three main energy sources in CD4+ T‑cells. Two‑way mixed lymphocyte reactions were performed with or without oleate and/or the IDO inhibitor 1‑methyl‑DL‑tryptophan. In addition, isolated CD4+ T‑cells cultured in an oleate‑containing medium were activated in the presence or not of the general control nonderepressible 2 kinase (GCN2K) activator tryptophanol. L‑tryptophan, glucose and free fatty acid consumption, cell proliferation, apoptosis and the levels of key proteins involved in IDO‑mediated signal transduction, and glucose, glutamine and free fatty acid utilization were assessed. The results indicate that IDO decreased glycolysis and glutaminolysis by activating GCN2K, resulting in activation of AMP‑activated protein kinase (AMPK). In parallel with AMPK activation, IDO‑induced activation of aryl hydrocarbon receptor increased the expression of all carnitine palmitoyltransferase I isoenzymes, leading ultimately to increased free fatty acid oxidation and preservation of CD4+ T‑cell survival and proliferation. Thus, contrary to what is generally hypothesized, in a normal environment containing fatty acids, the immunosuppressive effect of IDO may not be due to a decrease in CD4+ T‑cell survival and proliferation, since IDO supplies the required energy for cell survival and proliferation by increasing free fatty acid oxidation.