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28 March 2024

Glutamine Metabolism Is Required for Alveolar Macrophage Proliferation

Alveolar macrophages (AMs) are critical for normal lung homeostasis, surfactant metabolism, and host defense against various respiratory pathogens. Despite being terminally differentiated cells, AMs are able to proliferate and self-renew to maintain their compartment without the input of the hematopoietic system in the adulthood during homeostasis. However, the molecular and metabolic mechanisms modulating AM proliferative responses are still incompletely understood. Here we have investigated the metabolic regulation of AM proliferation and self-renewal. Inhibition of glucose uptake or fatty acid oxidation did not significantly impact AM proliferation. Rather, inhibition of the glutamine uptake and/or glutaminase activity impaired AM mitochondrial respiration and cellular proliferation in vitro and in vivo in response to growth factor stimulation. Furthermore, mice with a genetic deletion of glutaminase in macrophages showed decreased proliferation. Our data indicate that glutamine is a critical substrate for fueling mitochondrial metabolism that is required for AM proliferation. Overall, our study is expected to shed light on the AM maintenance and repopulation by glutamine during homeostasis and following acute respiratory viral infection.

Keywords: Alveolar macrophage; Proliferation; Glutamine; Self-renewal