Loss of stearoyl-CoA desaturase 2 disrupts inflammatory response in macrophages

Joseph B. Lin, Amy Mora, Tzu Jui Wang, Andrea Santeford, Darksha Usmani, Marianne M. Ligon, Indira U. Mysorekar, Rajendra S. Apte

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Macrophages are innate immune cells that patrol tissues and are the first responders to detect infection. They orchestrate the host immune response in eliminating invading pathogens and the subsequent transition from inflammation to tissue repair. Macrophage dysfunction contributes to age-related pathologies, including low-grade inflammation in advanced age that is termed "inflammaging." Our laboratory has previously identified that macrophage expression of a fatty acid desaturase, stearoyl-CoA desaturase 2 (SCD2), declines with age. Herein, we delineate the precise cellular effects of SCD2 deficiency in murine macrophages. We found that deletion of Scd2 from macrophages dysregulated basal and bacterial lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-stimulated transcription of numerous inflammation-associated genes. Specifically, deletion of Scd2 from macrophages decreased basal and LPS-induced expression of Il1b transcript that corresponded to decreased production of precursor IL1B protein and release of mature IL1B. Furthermore, we identified disruptions in autophagy and depletion of unsaturated cardiolipins in SCD2-deficient macrophages. To assess the functional relevance of SCD2 in the macrophage response to infection, we challenged SCD2-deficient macrophages with uropathogenic Escherichia coli and found that there was impaired clearance of intracellular bacteria. This increased burden of intracellular bacteria was accompanied by increased release of pro-inflammatory cytokines IL6 and TNF but decreased IL1B. Taken together, these results indicate that macrophage expression of Scd2 is necessary for maintaining the macrophage response to inflammatory stimuli. This link between fatty acid metabolism and fundamental macrophage effector functions may potentially be relevant to diverse age-related pathologies. IMPORTANCE Macrophages are immune cells that respond to infection, but their dysfunction is implicated in many age-related diseases. Recent evidence showed that macrophage expression of a fatty acid enzyme, stearoyl-CoA desaturase 2, declines in aged organisms. In this work, we characterize the effects when stearoyl-CoA desaturase 2 is deficient in macrophages. We identify aspects of the macrophage inflammatory response to infection that may be affected when expression of a key fatty acid enzyme is decreased, and these findings may provide cellular insight into how macrophages contribute to age-related diseases.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e0092523
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 31 2023


  • IL1B
  • UPEC
  • cardiolipin
  • inflammaging
  • macrophage
  • stearoyl-CoA desaturase


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