Magnesium rich environment essential for T cell function, study finds


In a new report published in the journal Cell, researchers found that a sufficient quantity of magnesium is needed for T cells to operate properly, a finding that could affect future cancer treatments.

The study was led by Christopher Hess, MD, PhD, a professor in the Department of Biomedicine at the University of Basel and the Department of Medicine at the University of Cambridge. The study found that inadequate magnesium levels prevent T cells from removing abnormal and infected cells from the immune system. Specifically, researchers observed that the T cell surface protein, LFA-1, which helps activate T cells, requires a magnesium rich environment to properly function.  In experimental models, researchers increased local magnesium concentration in tumors. The results suggested that the increased magnesium improved T cell function and immune response.

These findings could lead to improved cancer immunotherapies. The results do not yield a definitive answer as to whether magnesium intake can prevent cancer. However, the study does suggest magnesium levels play an essential role in the functioning of the body’s immune response to infected cells.