Metabolic-epigenetic crosstalk in macrophage activation

Jeroen Baardman, Iris Licht, Menno P.J. De Winther, Jan Van Den Bossche

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleAcademicpeer-review

46 Citations (Scopus)


Epigenetic enzymes are emerging as crucial controllers of macrophages, innate immune cells that determine the outcome of many inflammatory diseases. Recent studies demonstrate that the activity of particular chromatin-modifying enzymes is regulated by the availability of specific metabolites like acetyl-coenzyme A, S-adenosylmethionine, α-ketoglutarate, nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide and polyamines. In this way chromatin-modifying enzymes could sense the macrophage's metabolic status and translate this into gene expression and phenotypic changes. Importantly, distinct macrophage activation subsets display particular metabolic pathways. IFNγ/lipopolysaccharide-activated macrophages (MIFNγ/LPS or M1) display high glycolysis, which directly drives their inflammatory phenotype. In contrast, oxidative mitochondrial metabolism and enhanced polyamine production are hallmarks and requirements for IL-4-induced macrophage activation (MIL-4 or M2). Here we report how epigenetics could serve as a bridge between altered macrophage metabolism, macrophage activation and disease.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1155-1164
Number of pages10
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2015


  • chromatin-modifying enzymes
  • epigenetics
  • histone acetylation and methylation
  • inflammation
  • macrophages
  • metabolism

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