Research Topic

The Role of Systemic and Cellular Metabolism on Susceptibility to Infections and Responsiveness to Vaccination

About this Research Topic

The modern era is characterized by a high burden of non-communicable diseases (NCD). These NCDs are increasing at an alarming rate in low socioeconomic settings, which poses significant global public health challenges. Epidemiological studies highlighted an intimate association between infectious diseases and a cluster of metabolic-associated comorbidities. Obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases, which are linked to the metabolic syndrome, are critical at dictating the susceptibility and outcomes of many infections. This is often a “two-way street” since many infections by themselves cause both cellular and systemic metabolic disorders and increase the risks of NCDs.

A better understanding regarding the reasons why individuals with pre-existing metabolic diseases have an increased susceptibility to infections and potentially poorer response to vaccination is warranted. At the fundamental level, dissecting immune response to pathogens and vaccines in this setting is crucial for developing more effective intervention strategies. For example, certain adjuvants could be exploited to improve the immunogenicity of vaccines for targeted vulnerable populations with a dysfunctional metabolism. In-depth immune-profiling studies cannot only unravel the underlying mechanisms but also guide towards the identification of intervention targets, as well as potential biomarkers to develop point-of-care diagnostics for the stratification and follow-up of patients and vaccinees.

More recently, it has been established that the metabolic status of host cells dictates susceptibility to infection. During infection, immune cells also have increased bioenergetic demands to mount an effective antimicrobial response. It is therefore evident that both systemic metabolism and intrinsic immune cellular metabolic status are crucial determinants of immune responses and disease progression during infection.

This Research Topic aims at canvassing cutting edge contributions that seek to disentangle the complex interaction between the systemic and/or cellular metabolism of the host and pathogens. The primary focus areas are pathogenesis, immunopathogenesis, immunometabolism and vaccinology.

The specific areas of interest include (but are not limited to):
• Immune responses to pathogens and vaccines in subjects with metabolic NCDs
• Susceptibility to infections and severity of adverse outcomes in subjects with metabolic NCDs
• Effect of cellular metabolic status on viral replication and anti-viral responses
• Effect of cellular metabolic status on bacterial replication and on anti-bacterial responses
• Pathogen-mediated metabolic changes at both the cellular and systemic level
• Role of infection on the development of NCDs
• Contribution of microbiome and virome to the pathogenesis of communicable and NCDs, as well as in vaccine responsiveness
• Strategies to reduce pathogen-induced metabolic disorders based on microbiome editing
• Metabolic targeting to improve pathogen clearance, immune responses to infections, and vaccine efficacy

The following article types are welcome: Original Research, Review, Mini Review, Perspective, General Commentary, and Opinion.


Keywords: cellular metabolism, NCDs, metabolic disorder, host, pathogen


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

The modern era is characterized by a high burden of non-communicable diseases (NCD). These NCDs are increasing at an alarming rate in low socioeconomic settings, which poses significant global public health challenges. Epidemiological studies highlighted an intimate association between infectious diseases and a cluster of metabolic-associated comorbidities. Obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases, which are linked to the metabolic syndrome, are critical at dictating the susceptibility and outcomes of many infections. This is often a “two-way street” since many infections by themselves cause both cellular and systemic metabolic disorders and increase the risks of NCDs.

A better understanding regarding the reasons why individuals with pre-existing metabolic diseases have an increased susceptibility to infections and potentially poorer response to vaccination is warranted. At the fundamental level, dissecting immune response to pathogens and vaccines in this setting is crucial for developing more effective intervention strategies. For example, certain adjuvants could be exploited to improve the immunogenicity of vaccines for targeted vulnerable populations with a dysfunctional metabolism. In-depth immune-profiling studies cannot only unravel the underlying mechanisms but also guide towards the identification of intervention targets, as well as potential biomarkers to develop point-of-care diagnostics for the stratification and follow-up of patients and vaccinees.

More recently, it has been established that the metabolic status of host cells dictates susceptibility to infection. During infection, immune cells also have increased bioenergetic demands to mount an effective antimicrobial response. It is therefore evident that both systemic metabolism and intrinsic immune cellular metabolic status are crucial determinants of immune responses and disease progression during infection.

This Research Topic aims at canvassing cutting edge contributions that seek to disentangle the complex interaction between the systemic and/or cellular metabolism of the host and pathogens. The primary focus areas are pathogenesis, immunopathogenesis, immunometabolism and vaccinology.

The specific areas of interest include (but are not limited to):
• Immune responses to pathogens and vaccines in subjects with metabolic NCDs
• Susceptibility to infections and severity of adverse outcomes in subjects with metabolic NCDs
• Effect of cellular metabolic status on viral replication and anti-viral responses
• Effect of cellular metabolic status on bacterial replication and on anti-bacterial responses
• Pathogen-mediated metabolic changes at both the cellular and systemic level
• Role of infection on the development of NCDs
• Contribution of microbiome and virome to the pathogenesis of communicable and NCDs, as well as in vaccine responsiveness
• Strategies to reduce pathogen-induced metabolic disorders based on microbiome editing
• Metabolic targeting to improve pathogen clearance, immune responses to infections, and vaccine efficacy

The following article types are welcome: Original Research, Review, Mini Review, Perspective, General Commentary, and Opinion.


Keywords: cellular metabolism, NCDs, metabolic disorder, host, pathogen


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

04 January 2021 Abstract
04 May 2021 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

04 January 2021 Abstract
04 May 2021 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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