Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

BACKGROUND: The cross-talk between the host and its microbiota plays a key role in the promotion of health. The production of metabolites, such as polyamines, by intestinal-resident bacteria is part of this symbiosis shaping host immunity. The polyamines putrescine, spermine and spermidine (SPMD) are abundant within the gastrointestinal tract, and might substantially contribute to gut immunity. OBJECTIVE: We aimed to characterize the polyamine SPMD as a modulator of T cell differentiation and function. METHODS: Naïve T cells were isolated from wild type (WT) mice or cord blood from healthy donors, and submitted to polarizing cytokines, with and without SPMD treatment, in order to evaluate T cell differentiation in vitro. Moreover, mice were subjected to oral supplementation of SPMD, or its precursors L-arginine, to assess the frequency and total numbers of Tregs in vivo. RESULTS: SPMD modulates CD4+ T cell differentiation in vitro, preferentially committing naïve T cells to a regulatory phenotype. Upon SPMD treatment, activated T cells lacking the autophagy gene Atg5 fail to upregulate Foxp3 to the same extent as WT cells. These results indicate that SPMD`s polarizing effect requires an intact autophagic machinery. Furthermore, dietary supplementation with SPMD promotes homeostatic differentiation of Tregs within the gut and reduces pathology in a model of T cell transfer colitis. CONCLUSION: Altogether, our results highlight the beneficial effects of SPMD, or L-arginine, on gut immunity, by promoting Treg development.

Original publication




Journal article


J allergy clin immunol

Publication Date



Gut immunity, Polyamines, Regulatory T cells, Spermidine, Th17