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Role of Polyamines in Immune Cell Functions

University of South Florida Cancer Biology Graduate Program, University of South Florida, 4202 East Fowler Ave, Tampa, FL 33620, USA
Department Immunology, PharmD, Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute, 12902 Magnolia Drive, 23033 SRB, Tampa, FL 33612, USA
Department of Tumor Biology, Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute, 12902 Magnolia Drive, Tampa, FL 33612, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Med. Sci. 2018, 6(1), 22;
Received: 16 January 2018 / Revised: 28 February 2018 / Accepted: 2 March 2018 / Published: 8 March 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polyamine Metabolism in Disease and Polyamine-Targeted Therapies)
PDF [2152 KB, uploaded 8 March 2018]


The immune system is remarkably responsive to a myriad of invading microorganisms and provides continuous surveillance against tissue damage and developing tumor cells. To achieve these diverse functions, multiple soluble and cellular components must react in an orchestrated cascade of events to control the specificity, magnitude and persistence of the immune response. Numerous catabolic and anabolic processes are involved in this process, and prominent roles for l-arginine and l-glutamine catabolism have been described, as these amino acids serve as precursors of nitric oxide, creatine, agmatine, tricarboxylic acid cycle intermediates, nucleotides and other amino acids, as well as for ornithine, which is used to synthesize putrescine and the polyamines spermidine and spermine. Polyamines have several purported roles and high levels of polyamines are manifest in tumor cells as well in autoreactive B- and T-cells in autoimmune diseases. In the tumor microenvironment, l-arginine catabolism by both tumor cells and suppressive myeloid cells is known to dampen cytotoxic T-cell functions suggesting there might be links between polyamines and T-cell suppression. Here, we review studies suggesting roles of polyamines in normal immune cell function and highlight their connections to autoimmunity and anti-tumor immune cell function. View Full-Text
Keywords: immunity; T-lymphocytes; B-lymphocytes; tumor immunity; metabolism; epigenetics; autoimmunity immunity; T-lymphocytes; B-lymphocytes; tumor immunity; metabolism; epigenetics; autoimmunity

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Hesterberg, R.S.; Cleveland, J.L.; Epling-Burnette, P.K. Role of Polyamines in Immune Cell Functions. Med. Sci. 2018, 6, 22.

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