Succinate is an inflammation-induced immunoregulatory metabolite in macrophages

Karl J. Harber, Kyra E. de Goede, Sanne G.S. Verberk, Elisa Meinster, Helga E. de Vries, Michel van Weeghel, Menno P.J. de Winther, Jan Van den Bossche*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Immunometabolism revealed the crucial role of cellular metabolism in controlling immune cell phenotype and functions. Macrophages, key immune cells that support progression of numerous inflammatory diseases, have been well described as undergoing vast metabolic rewiring upon activation. The immunometabolite succinate particularly gained a lot of attention and emerged as a crucial regulator of macrophage responses and inflammation. Succinate was originally described as a metabolite that supports inflammation via distinct routes. Recently, studies have indicated that succinate and its receptor SUCNR1 can suppress immune responses as well. These apparent contradictory effects might be due to specific experimental settings and particularly the use of distinct succinate forms. We therefore compared the phenotypic and functional effects of distinct succinate forms and receptor mouse models that were previously used for studying succinate immunomodulation. Here, we show that succinate can suppress secretion of inflammatory mediators IL-6, tumor necrosis factor (TNF) and nitric oxide (NO), as well as inhibit Il1b mRNA expression of inflammatory macrophages in a SUCNR1-independent manner. We also observed that macrophage SUCNR1 deficiency led to an enhanced inflammatory response without addition of exogenous succinate. While our study does not reveal new mechanistic insights into how succinate elicits different inflammatory responses, it does indicate that the inflammatory effects of succinate and its receptor SUCNR1 in macrophages are clearly context dependent.

Original languageEnglish
Article number372
Pages (from-to)1-14
Number of pages14
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2020

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