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Special Issue "Immuno-Metabolism: Resisting Resistance to Immuno-Checkpoint Therapy 2.0"

A special issue of International Journal of Molecular Sciences (ISSN 1422-0067). This special issue belongs to the section "Molecular Immunology".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 November 2021.

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Laura Strauss
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor

Special Issue Information

The crosstalk of myeloid cells with T cells coordinates immune responses that regulate the balance between immune activation and tolerance. Recent progress has focused attention on the metabolic regulation of coordinated innate and adaptive immune responses.

The induction of programmed death 1 (PD-1) in T cells and its ligand, PD-L1, on myeloid cells can limit effector T cell responses and provide protection from immune-mediated tissue damage. This pathway is co-opted by tumors to promote host immune evasion. The selective deletion of PD-1 expression on myeloid bone marrow precursors and myeloid cells switches the cells from myelopoiesis to effector-like cells with enhanced antigen-presenting capacity. The ablation of PD-1 in myeloid cells causes them to engage in glycolysis-driven cholesterol metabolism (a pathway critical for progenitor differentiation), enhanced APC function and increased anti-tumor T cell immunity.

Despite important clinical benefits, immune-checkpoint blockade is associated with immune-related adverse events (irAEs), which include pneumonitis and cardiovascular artery disease (CAD). IrAEs are discussed as arising from persistent immune activation and nutrient excess.

The blockade of PD-1 in metabolically predisposed patients or patients with pre-existing inflammatory diseases might lead to excessive nutrient uptake and mitochondrial activity resulting in high levels of intracellular ROS (reactive oxygen species) and oxidized lipids. Lipid accumulation in monocytes and macrophages leads to foam cell formation, key drivers of pneumonitis and CAD. High levels of glucose/lactate or oxidized lipids activate the immunoinhibitory PD-1/PD-L1 pathway, leading to the enhanced immunosuppressive activity of MDSCs (myeloid-derived suppressor cells) and impaired T cell, DC and NK cell function, promoting the formation of tumor metastases.

Dear Colleagues,

Inhibitory immune checkpoints such as PD‐1/PD‐L1 normally maintain peripheral tolerance by disabling the activation and effector functions of autoreactive T‐cells and preventing uncontrolled myeloid cell activation, but they have been found to be co‐opted in cancer. Monoclonal antibodies that neutralize these pathways have represented a significant step forward in incorporating immunotherapy into the fight against cancer.

Unfortunately, acquired resistance to and toxicity of immune-checkpoint blockade have been observed in a substantial proportion of patients enrolled in clinical trials. As immunotherapy is further incorporated into routine clinical practice, an increase in the number of reported cases of relapse and adverse side effects is to be expected. Therefore, experimental research to identify the resistance and toxicity pathways to overcome are required.

The metabolic reprogramming of T and myeloid cells in patients with cancer and autoimmune diseases has been increasingly investigated. Of interest are the functional activities through which myeloid cells instruct T cells. Monocytes and macrophages serve as antigen-presenting cells and finetune T cell responses. By expressing PD-1/PD-L1, they can also suppress T cell immunity, a functional aspect of importance in tumors with PD-1 or PD-L1hi tumor-associated monocytes and macrophages. Research over the last decade has shown that PD-1/PD-L1 blockade on T or myeloid cells increases glucose and lipid metabolism, metabolic networks critical for inducing efficient anti-tumor immune responses. Significantly, very recent reports show that overnutrition promotes persistent T and myeloid activation and impairs the timely resolution of inflammation, resulting in immune-driven tissue damage.

Therefore, harnessing immune cell functions for immune checkpoint therapy and regenerative medicine applications requires an understanding of the metabolic networks that direct the maintenance, heterogeneity, and protective and pathological function of immune cells.

In this Special Issue, dedicated to immunometabolism, we present a collection of work that provides insight into this diverse spectrum of metabolic reprogramming of myeloid and T cell activities within the host immune and tissue repair responses, and the contribution of chronic inflammation and metabolic syndrome to pathways of resistance to and toxicity from immunocheckpoint therapy.

Dr. Laura Strauss
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. International Journal of Molecular Sciences is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. There is an Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal. For details about the APC please see here. Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • lipid and glucose metabolism
  • oxidized lipids
  • metabolic reprogramming
  • monocytes/macrophages
  • MDSC
  • bone marrow progenitors
  • T cells
  • PD-1/PD-L1
  • tissue homeostasis
  • fibrosis
  • overnutrition
  • irAEs
  • chronic inflammation

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