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Halofuginone suppresses T cell proliferation by blocking proline uptake and inducing cell apoptosis



Halofuginone suppresses T cell proliferation by blocking proline uptake and inducing cell apoptosis



International Immunopharmacology 16(4): 414-423



Inactivation of T cells is a widely used strategy for immunosuppression. Halofuginone (HF) is an antiprotozoal agent for treating parasites in veterinary medicine, and has been demonstrated to inhibit collagen type 1 synthesis, T helper 17 cell differentiation and cytokine production in activated T cells. The present study was designed to examine the biological effects of HF against T cell receptor and interleukin (IL)-2 stimulated T cell proliferation. T cell proliferation in cultured murine splenocytes was determined by methylthiazol tetrazolium assay. Cell apoptosis was mainly determined by fluorescence-activated cell sorting with Annexin-V and 7-aminoactinomycin D staining. Here, we showed that HF significantly suppressed T cell proliferation in naïve splenocyte cultures in response to alloantigen or anti-CD3 antibody (IC₅₀, 2-2.5 nM; P<0.0001), or in activated T cell cultures in response to IL-2 (IC₅₀, 16 nM; P<0.0001) in a dose-dependent manner. HF did neither attenuate IL-2 production in anti-CD3 antibody activated T cells nor disrupt STAT5 signaling in IL-2-stimulated T cells, but its anti-T cell proliferation was correlated with an increase in cell apoptosis and a decrease in proline uptake in culture medium. Further experiments showed that proline supplement in cell culture medium significantly prevented HF-mediated suppression of T cell proliferation and cell apoptosis. In conclusion, these data suggest that HF interferes with proline incorporation or uptake, resulting in apoptosis via amino acid starvation response in T cells in the response to antigen/mitogen or IL-2 stimulation.

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Accession: 036895263

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PMID: 23685128

DOI: 10.1016/j.intimp.2013.04.031


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