Metabolic requirements of human pro-inflammatory B cells in aging and obesity

Daniela Frasca, Alain Diaz, Maria Romero, Seth Thaller, Bonnie B. Blomberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


The subset of pro-inflammatory B cells, called late memory, tissue-like or double negative (DN), accumulates in the blood of elderly individuals. Here we show that DN B cells do not proliferate and do not make antibodies to influenza antigens, but they secrete antibodies with autoimmune reactivity, in agreement with their membrane phenotype (CD95+CD21-CD11c+) and their spontaneous expression of the transcription factor T-bet. These cells also increase in the blood of individuals with obesity and autoimmune diseases, but causative mechanisms and signaling pathways involved are known only in part. In the present paper we compare frequencies and metabolic requirements of these cells in the blood of healthy individuals of different ages and in the blood and the subcutaneous adipose tissue (SAT) of individuals with obesity. Results show that DN B cells from young individuals have minimal metabolic requirements, DN B cells from elderly and obese individuals utilize higher amounts of glucose to perform autoimmune antibody production and enroll in aerobic glycolysis to support their function. DN B cells from the SAT have the highest metabolic requirements as they activate oxidative phosphorylation, aerobic glycolysis and fatty acid oxidation. DN B cells from the SAT also show the highest levels of ROS and the highest levels of phosphorylated AMPK (5’-AMP activated kinase) and Sestrin 1, both able to mitigate stress and cell death. This metabolic advantage drives DN B cell survival and function (secretion of autoimmune antibodies).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0219545
JournalPloS one
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • General


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