Elementary immunology: Na+ as a regulator of immunity Academic Article uri icon


  • The skin can serve as an interstitial Na+ reservoir. Local tissue Na+ accumulation increases with age, inflammation and infection. This increased local Na+ availability favors pro-inflammatory immune cell function and dampens their anti-inflammatory capacity. In this review, we summarize available data on how NaCl affects various immune cells. We particularly focus on how salt promotes pro-inflammatory macrophage and T cell function and simultaneously curtails their regulatory and anti-inflammatory potential. Overall, these findings demonstrate that local Na+ availability is a promising novel regulator of immunity. Hence, the modulation of tissue Na+ levels bears broad therapeutic potential: increasing local Na+ availability may help in treating infections, while lowering tissue Na+ levels may be used to treat, for example, autoimmune and cardiovascular diseases.


  • Schatz, Valentin
  • Neubert, Patrick
  • Schröder, Agnes
  • Binger, Katrina
  • Gebhard, Matthias
  • Müller, Dominik N
  • Luft, Friedrich C
  • Titze, Jens
  • Jantsch, Jonathan

publication date

  • 2017