Uncontrolled inflammation underpins a diverse range of diseases where effective therapy remains an unmet clinical need. Hypoxia is a prominent feature of the inflammatory microenvironment that regulates key transcription factors including HIF and NF-κB in both innate and adaptive immune cells. In turn, altered activity of the pathways controlled by these factors can affect the course of inflammation through the regulation of immune cell development and function. In this review, we will discuss these pathways and the oxygen sensors that confer hypoxic sensitivity in immune cells. Furthermore, we will describe how hypoxia-dependent pathways contribute to immunity and discuss their potential as therapeutic targets in inflammatory and infectious disease.
Cormac T. Taylor, Glen Doherty, Padraic G. Fallon, Eoin P. Cummins
Regulation of immune cells by HIFs.
Functional immune cells differentiate from hematopoietic stem cells (HSC). Immune cells are frequently exposed to hypoxia when they enter the hypoxic niche of the inflammatory lesion where HIF can influence differentiation and function (shown in red).