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Polyamines (i.e., putrescine, spermidine, and spermine) are bioactive polycations capable of binding nucleic acids and proteins and modulating signaling pathways. Polyamine functions have been studied most extensively in tumors, where they can promote cell transformation and proliferation. Recently, spermidine was found to exert protective effects in an experimental model of multiple sclerosis (MS) and to confer immunoregulatory properties on dendritic cells (DCs), via the indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase 1 (IDO1) enzyme. IDO1 converts l-tryptophan into metabolites, collectively known as kynurenines, endowed with several immunoregulatory effects via activation of the arylhydrocarbon receptor (AhR). Because AhR activation increases polyamine production, the emerging scenario has identified polyamines and kynurenines as actors of an immunoregulatory circuitry with potential implications for immunotherapy in autoimmune diseases and cancer. Copyright © 2020 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Ltd.. All rights reserved.


Elisa Proietti, Sofia Rossini, Ursula Grohmann, Giada Mondanelli. Polyamines and Kynurenines at the Intersection of Immune Modulation. Trends in immunology. 2020 Nov;41(11):1037-1050

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PMID: 33055013

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