Research Highlights: Magnesium Helps The Immune System Fight Against Cancer

Magnesium Helps The Immune System Fight Against Cancer

  • Magnesium is important in maintaining a healthy body.[1]
  • Magnesium is involved in muscle regulation, nerve function, blood sugar levels, blood pressure, protein production, bone maintenance, and genetic stability.[1]
  • Foods that contain magnesium include legumes, nuts, whole grains, green leafy vegetables, breakfast cereals, yogurt, and certain milk products.[1]
  • The role of magnesium outside the cells in regards to cellular immunity remains unclear.
  • Lymphocyte Function Associated Antigen 1 or LFA-1 is a cell-surface protein found on CD8+ T cells.[2]
  • LFA-1 functions as an adhesion molecule promoting contact between two cells or between a cell and the extracellular matrix.
  • Researchers discovered that magnesium activates the LFA-1 on CD8+ T cells, thereby increasing calcium influx, signal transduction, metabolic reprogramming, immunological interface, and cytotoxicity.
  • When LFA-1 detected high levels of magnesium, pathogen and tumor-specific T cell’s performance was improved, effectiveness of bi-specific T cell engaging antibodies was enhanced, and CAR T cell function was improved.
  • CAR T cells are a type of T cells that have been genetically modified to produce an artificial T cell receptor for use in immunological treatment.[3]
  • Low levels of magnesium in the blood were correlated with more rapid disease progression and lower survival rate in patients treated with CAR T cell and immune checkpoint antibody.
  • The findings highlight the relationship between co-stimulation and nutrient sensing, and direct to the magnesium-LFA-1 interaction as a therapeutically amenable biological system.


Jonas Lötscher, Adrià-Arnau Martí i Líndez, Nicole Kirchhammer, Elisabetta Cribioli, Greta Giordano, Marcel P. Trefny, Markus Lenz, Sacha I. Rothschild, Paolo Strati, Marco Künzli, Claudia Lotter, Susanne H. Schenk, Philippe Dehio, Jordan Löliger, Ludivine Litzler, David Schreiner, Victoria Koch, Nicolas Page, Dahye Lee, Jasmin Grählert, Dmitry Kuzmin, Anne-Valérie Burgener, Doron Merkler, Miklos Pless, Maria L. Balmer, Walter Reith, Jörg Huwyler, Melita Irving, Carolyn G. King, Alfred Zippelius, Christoph Hess. Magnesium sensing via LFA-1 regulates CD8 T cell effector function. Cell, 2022; DOI: 10.1016/j.cell.2021.12.039




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