Lactic Acid Inhibits Lipopolysaccharide-Induced Mast Cell Function by Limiting Glycolysis and ATP Availability.


Department of Biology, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA 23284; [Email]


Sepsis has a well-studied inflammatory phase, with a less-understood secondary immunosuppressive phase. Elevated blood lactate and slow lactate clearance are associated with mortality; however, regulatory roles are unknown. We hypothesized that lactic acid (LA) contributes to the late phase and is not solely a consequence of bacterial infection. No studies have examined LA effects in sepsis models in vivo or a mechanism by which it suppresses LPS-induced activation in vitro. Because mast cells can be activated systemically and contribute to sepsis, we examined LA effects on the mast cell response to LPS. LA significantly suppressed LPS-induced cytokine production and NF-κB transcriptional activity in mouse bone marrow-derived mast cells and cytokine production in peritoneal mast cells. Suppression was MCT-1 dependent and reproducible with sodium lactate or formic acid. Further, LA significantly suppressed cytokine induction following LPS-induced endotoxemia in mice. Because glycolysis is linked to inflammation and LA is a byproduct of this process, we examined changes in glucose metabolism. LA treatment reduced glucose uptake and lactate export during LPS stimulation. LA effects were mimicked by glycolytic inhibitors and reversed by increasing ATP availability. These results indicate that glycolytic suppression and ATP production are necessary and sufficient for LA effects. Our work suggests that enhancing glycolysis and ATP production could improve immune function, counteracting LA suppressive effects in the immunosuppressive phase of sepsis.

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