IGF-2 Preprograms Maturing Macrophages to Acquire Oxidative Phosphorylation-Dependent Anti-inflammatory Properties

Liming Du, Liangyu Lin, Qing Li, Keli Liu, Yin Huang, Xuefeng Wang, Kai Cao, Xiaodong Chen, Wei Cao, Fengying Li, Changshun Shao, Ying Wang, Yufang Shi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

96 Scopus citations


Recent investigations revealed that macrophages could be trained with an altered responsiveness, raising the possibility of combating autoimmune diseases by imparting anti-inflammatory capabilities to these cells. While investigating the effect of mesenchymal stem cells on experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), we found a critical role of insulin-like growth factor 2 (IGF-2) in training macrophages to become anti-inflammatory during their maturation. IGF-2 exerts its effects by preprogramming maturing macrophages to commit oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS). IGF-2-preprogrammed macrophages maintained the mitochondrial complex V activities even upon pro-inflammation stimulation, thus enabling an elevated programmed death-ligand 1 (PD-L1) expression. PD-L1 neutralization abolished the beneficial effect of IGF-2 on EAE. Furthermore, adoptive transfer of IGF-2-preprogrammed macrophages to EAE mice increased Tregs and alleviated the diseases. Our results demonstrate that shaping macrophage responsiveness by IGF-2 is effective in managing inflammatory diseases, and the OXPHOS commitment can be preset to determine the anti-inflammatory fate of macrophages. Du and Lin et al. show that insulin-like growth factor 2 (IGF-2) modulates the innate immune memory of macrophages during their maturation and enables macrophages to have persistent oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS). Such metabolic commitment allows macrophages to highly express PD-L1 even upon pro-inflammation stimulation and determines their anti-inflammatory phenotype.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1363-1375.e8
JournalCell Metabolism
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 4 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physiology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


  • IGF-2
  • PD-L1
  • experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis
  • immunometabolism
  • innate immune memory
  • macrophage
  • mesenchymal stem cell
  • oxidative phosphorylation


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