Leptin modulates autophagy in human CD4+CD25- conventional T cells

Silvana Cassano, Valentina Pucino, Claudia La Rocca, Claudio Procaccini, Veronica De Rosa, Gianni Marone, Giuseppe Matarese

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective In this report we show that the adipocytokine leptin directly modulates autophagy in human CD4+CD25- conventional (Tconv) T cells.

Conclusions Our results, suggest that in unconditioned, freshly-isolated human Tconv cells, autophagy and proliferation are controlled by leptin during TCR-engagement, and that both phenomena occur alternatively indicating a balance between these processes during immune activation.

Results In vitro treatment with recombinant human leptin determined an inhibition of autophagy during T cell receptor (TCR) stimulation, and this phenomenon was dose- and time-dependent. The events were secondary to the activation of the mammalian-target of rapamycin (mTOR)-pathway induced by leptin, as testified by its reversion induced by mTOR inhibition with rapamycin. At molecular level these phenomena associated with Bcl-2 up-regulation and its interaction with Beclin-1, whose complex exerts a negative effect on autophagy.

Materials/methods The impact of leptin on autophagy of Tconv cells was determined at biochemical level by western blotting and by flow cytometry; the interaction between BCL-2 and Beclin-1 by co-immunoprecipitation assays.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1272-1279
Number of pages8
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1 2014


  • Autophagy
  • Leptin
  • Metabolism
  • mTOR
  • T cells

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism


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