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Intermittent fasting blunts inflammation

Ron Put

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Not exactly new discovery, but a possible explanation of how it works:

Fasting-induced FOXO4 blunts human CD4+ T helper cell responsiveness

Intermittent fasting blunts inflammation in asthma1 and rheumatoid arthritis2, suggesting that fasting may be exploited as an immune-modulatory intervention. However, the mechanisms underpinning the anti-inflammatory effects of fasting are poorly characterized3–5. Here, we show that fasting in humans is sufficient to blunt CD4+ T helper cell responsiveness. RNA sequencing and flow cytometry immunophenotyping of peripheral blood mononuclear cells from volunteers subjected to overnight or 24-h fasting and 3 h of refeeding suggest that fasting blunts CD4+ T helper cell activation and differentiation. Transcriptomic analysis reveals that longer fasting has a more robust effect on CD4+ T-cell biology. Through bioinformatics analyses, we identify the transcription factor FOXO4 and its canonical target FK506-binding protein 5 (FKBP5) as a potential fasting-responsive regulatory axis. Genetic gain- or loss-of-function of FOXO4 and FKBP5 is sufficient to modulate TH1 and TH17 cytokine production. Moreover, we find that fasting-induced or genetic overexpression of FOXO4 and FKBP5 is sufficient to downregulate mammalian target of rapamycin complex 1 signalling and suppress signal transducer and activator of transcription 1/3 activation. Our results identify FOXO4–FKBP5 as a new fasting-induced, signal transducer and activator of transcription–mediated regulatory pathway to blunt human CD4+ T helper cell responsiveness. In a screen of peripheral blood cells from fasted or fed individuals, Han et al. identify FOXO4 and its target FKBP5 as fasting-induced modulators of CD4+ T helper cell responsiveness.

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