Metabolic regulation of hepatitis B immunopathology by myeloid-derived suppressor cells

Laura J. Pallett, Upkar S. Gill, Alberto Quaglia, Linda V. Sinclair, Maria Jover-Cobos, Anna Schurich, Kasha P. Singh, Niclas Thomas, Abhishek Das, Antony Chen, Giuseppe Fusai, Antonio Bertoletti, Doreen A. Cantrell, Patrick T. Kennedy, Nathan A. Davies, Muzlifah Haniffa, Mala K. Maini (Lead / Corresponding author)

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    221 Citations (Scopus)


    Infection with hepatitis B virus (HBV) results in disparate degrees of tissue injury: the virus can either replicate without pathological consequences or trigger immune-mediated necroinflammatory liver damage. We investigated the potential for myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs) to suppress T cell-mediated immunopathology in this setting. Granulocytic MDSCs (gMDSCs) expanded transiently in acute resolving HBV, decreasing in frequency prior to peak hepatic injury. In persistent infection, arginase-expressing gMDSCs (and circulating arginase) increased most in disease phases characterized by HBV replication without immunopathology, whilst L-arginine decreased. gMDSCs expressed liver-homing chemokine receptors and accumulated in the liver, their expansion supported by hepatic stellate cells. We provide in vitro and ex vivo evidence that gMDSCs potently inhibited T cells in a partially arginase-dependent manner. L-arginine-deprived T cells upregulated system L amino acid transporters to increase uptake of essential nutrients and attempt metabolic reprogramming. These data demonstrate the capacity of expanded arginase-expressing gMDSCs to regulate liver immunopathology in HBV infection.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)591-600
    Number of pages10
    JournalNature Medicine
    Issue number6
    Early online date11 May 2015
    Publication statusPublished - 11 May 2015

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • General Biochemistry,Genetics and Molecular Biology
    • General Medicine


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