In DepthImmunology

Metabolic shift may train immune cells

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Science  26 Sep 2014:
Vol. 345, Issue 6204, pp. 1550-1551
DOI: 10.1126/science.345.6204.1550

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Over the past 3 years, new evidence has indicated that white blood cells called monocytes have memory, even though they are part of the innate immune system. Exposure to certain pathogens can boost the cells' ability to fight off future infections. As part of a large European project, called BLUEPRINT, to survey the epigenetics of various healthy and diseased blood cells at different stages of development, researchers have found chemical modifications to histone proteins surrounding DNA in trained immune cells. Those clues led them to discover that training to become better defenders involves activating an energy-producing process called glycolysis. Without glycolysis, training does not occur. The finding has implications for modifying the immune system to fight disease.