The metabolic rewiring of tumor cells and immune cells has been viewed as a promising source of novel drug targets. Many of the molecular pathways implicated in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) directly modify synovium metabolism and transform the resident cells, such as the fibroblast-like synoviocytes (FLS), and the synovial tissue macrophages (STM), toward an overproduction of enzymes, which degrade cartilage and bone, and cytokines, which promote immune cell infiltration. Recent studies have shown metabolic changes in stromal and immune cells from RA patients. Metabolic disruption in the synovium provide the opportunity to use in vivo metabolism-based imaging techniques for patient stratification and to monitor treatment response. In addition, these metabolic changes may be therapeutically targetable. Thus, resetting metabolism of the synovial membrane offers additional opportunities for disease modulation and restoration of homeostasis in RA. In fact, rheumatologists already use the antimetabolite methotrexate, a chemotherapy agent, for the treatment of patients with inflammatory arthritis. Metabolic targets that do not compromise systemic homeostasis or corresponding metabolic functions in normal cells could increase the drug armamentarium in rheumatic diseases for combination therapy independent of systemic immunosuppression. This article summarizes what is known about metabolism in synovial tissue cells and highlights chemotherapies that target metabolism as potential future therapeutic strategies for RA.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited