Essential metabolism required for T and B lymphocyte functions: an update

Vinicius Leonardo Sousa Diniz, Anuska Marcelino Alvares-Saraiva, Tamires Duarte Afonso Serdan, Laiane Cristina Dos Santos-Oliveira, Vinicius Cruzat, Tiago Bertola Lobato, Richelieau Manoel, Amanda Lins Alecrim, Otavio Augusto Machado, Sandro M. Hirabara, Laureane Nunes Masi, Tania Cristina Pithon-Curi, Rui Curi, Renata Gorjão, Philip Newsholme

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Lymphocytes act as regulatory and effector cells in inflammation and infection situations. A metabolic switch towards glycolytic metabolism predominance occurs during T lymphocyte differentiation to inflammatory phenotypes (Th1 and Th17 cells). Maturation of T regulatory cells, however, may require activation of oxidative pathways. Metabolic transitions also occur in different maturation stages and activation of B lymphocytes. Under activation, B lymphocytes undergo cell growth and proliferation, associated with increased macromolecule synthesis. The B lymphocyte response to an antigen challenge requires an increased adenosine triphosphate (ATP) supply derived mainly through glycolytic metabolism. After stimulation, B lymphocytes increase glucose uptake, but they do not accumulate glycolytic intermediates, probably due to an increase in various metabolic pathway 'end product' formation. Activated B lymphocytes are associated with increased utilization of pyrimidines and purines for RNA synthesis and fatty acid oxidation. The generation of plasmablasts and plasma cells from B lymphocytes is crucial for antibody production. Antibody production and secretion require increased glucose consumption since 90% of consumed glucose is needed for antibody glycosylation. This review describes critical aspects of lymphocyte metabolism and functional interplay during activation. We discuss the primary fuels for the metabolism of lymphocytes and the particularities of T and B cell metabolism, including the differentiation of lymphocytes, stages of development of B cells, and the production of antibodies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)807-821
Number of pages15
JournalClinical science (London, England : 1979)
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 31 May 2023


  • Antibody production
  • B Cell
  • Glucose
  • Glutamine
  • Immunometabolism
  • Leucocyte


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