Immunometabolism has been unveiled in the last decade to play a major role in controlling macrophage metabolism and inflammation. There has been a constant effort to understand the immunomodulating properties of regulated metabolites during inflammation with the aim of controlling and re-wiring aberrant macrophages in inflammatory diseases. M-CSF and GM-CSF-differentiated macrophages play a key role in mounting successful innate immune responses. When a resolution phase is not achieved however, GM-CSF macrophages contribute substantially more towards an adverse inflammatory milieu than M-CSF macrophages, consequently driving disease progression. Whether there are specific immunometabolites that determine the homoeostatic or inflammatory nature of M-CSF and GM-CSF-differentiated macrophages is still unknown. As such, we performed metabolomics analysis on LPS and IL-4-stimulated M-CSF and GM-CSF-differentiated human macrophages to identify differentially accumulating metabolites. Adenine was distinguished as a metabolite significantly higher in M-CSF-differentiated macrophages after both LPS or IL-4 stimulation. Human macrophages treated with adenine before LPS stimulation showed a reduction in inflammatory gene expression, cytokine secretion and surface marker expression. Adenine caused macrophages to become more quiescent by lowering glycolysis and OXPHOS which resulted in reduced ATP production. Moreover, typical metabolite changes seen during LPS-induced macrophage metabolic reprogramming were absent in the presence of adenine. Phosphorylation of metabolic signalling proteins AMPK, p38 MAPK and AKT were not responsible for the suppressed metabolic activity of adenine-treated macrophages. Altogether, in this study we highlight the immunomodulating capacity of adenine in human macrophages and its function in driving cellular quiescence.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)23-30
Number of pages8
JournalImmunology letters
Early online date22 Dec 2023
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2024


  • Adenine
  • Gm-csf
  • Immunometabolism
  • Inflammation
  • M-csf
  • Macrophage

Cite this