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Mediators of Inflammation
Volume 2016, Article ID 2636701, 10 pages
Review Article

Metabolism Is Central to Tolerogenic Dendritic Cell Function

1Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology, Agency for Science, Technology and Research, Singapore 138673
2Institute of Biomedical Studies, Baylor University, Waco, TX 76712, USA

Received 7 November 2015; Accepted 31 December 2015

Academic Editor: Jurjen Tel

Copyright © 2016 Wen Jing Sim et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Immunological tolerance is a fundamental tenant of immune homeostasis and overall health. Self-tolerance is a critical component of the immune system that allows for the recognition of self, resulting in hyporeactivity instead of immunogenicity. Dendritic cells are central to the establishment of dominant immune tolerance through the secretion of immunosuppressive cytokines and regulatory polarization of T cells. Cellular metabolism holds the key to determining DC immunogenic or tolerogenic cell fate. Recent studies have demonstrated that dendritic cell maturation leads to a shift toward a glycolytic metabolic state and preferred use of glucose as a carbon source. In contrast, tolerogenic dendritic cells favor oxidative phosphorylation and fatty acid oxidation. This dichotomous metabolic reprogramming of dendritic cells drives differential cellular function and plays a role in pathologies, such as autoimmune disease. Pharmacological alterations in metabolism have promising therapeutic potential.