Leptin modulates autophagy in human CD4+CD25-conventional T cells

S. Cassano, V. Pucino, C. La Rocca, C. Procaccini, V. De Rosa, G. Marone, G. Matarese

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Objective: In this report we show that the adipocytokine leptin directly modulates autophagy in human CD4+CD25 conventional (Tconv) T cells.

Results: In vitro treatment with recombinant human leptin determined an inhibition of autophagy during T cell receptor (TCR) stimulation, and this phenomenon was dose- and time-dependent. The events were secondary to the activation of the mammalian-target of rapamycin (mTOR)-pathway induced by leptin, as testified by its reversion induced by mTOR inhibition with rapamycin. At molecular level these phenomena associated with Bcl-2 up-regulation and its interaction with Beclin-1, whose complex exerts a negative effect on autophagy.

Materials/methods: The impact of leptin on autophagy of Tconv cells was determined at biochemical level by western blotting and by flow cytometry; the interaction between BCL-2 and Beclin-1 by co-immunoprecipitation assays.

Conclusions: Our results, suggest that in unconditioned, freshly-isolated human Tconv cells, autophagy and proliferation are controlled by leptin during TCR-engagement, and that both phenomena occur alternatively indicating a balance between these processes during immune activation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1272-1279
Number of pages8
JournalMetabolism: Clinical and Experimental
Issue number10
Early online date19 Jun 2014
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2014


  • Leptin
  • Autophagy
  • T cells
  • Metabolism
  • mTOR


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