News ID: 112354
Publish Date : 12 February 2023 - 21:36

Too Much Salt Reduces Energy Supply to Immune Regulators

BRUSSELS (Dispatches) -- International researchers have reported that salt can disrupt key immune regulators called regulatory T cells by impairing their energy metabolism.
Regulatory T cells, also known as Tregs, are an essential part of the adaptive immune system. They are responsible for maintaining the balance between normal function and unwanted excessive inflammation. Tregs are sometimes referred to as the “immune police” because they keep bad guys like autoreactive immune cells at bay and ensure that immune responses happen in a controlled way without harming the host organism.
An international research team, coordinated by scientists at the VIB Center for Inflammation Research and Hasselt University in Belgium as well as the Max Delbrück Center in Germany has now revealed that sodium disrupts Treg function by altering cellular metabolism through interference with mitochondrial energy generation. This mitochondrial problem seems to be the initial step in how salt modifies Treg function, leading to changes in gene expression that showed similarities to those of dysfunctional Tregs in autoimmune conditions.
The findings may provide new avenues for exploring the development of autoimmune and cardiovascular diseases.