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Pathogenesis and treatment of autoimmune rheumatic diseases

Liu, Eric; Perl, Andras

Current Opinion in Rheumatology: May 2019 - Volume 31 - Issue 3 - p 307–315
doi: 10.1097/BOR.0000000000000594

Purpose of review Autoimmune diseases are of unknown origin, and they represent significant causes of morbidity and mortality. Here, we review new developments in the understanding of their pathogenesis that have led to development of well tolerated and effective treatments.

Recent findings In addition to the long-recognized genetic impact of the HLA locus, interferon regulatory factors, PTPN22, STAT4, and NOX have been implicated in pathogenesis of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Smoking, ultraviolet light, diet, and microbiota exert strong environmental influence on development of RA and SLE. Metabolism has been recognized as a critical integrator of genetic and environmental factors, and it controls immune cell differentiation both under physiological and pathological conditions.

Summary With the advent of high-throughput genetic, proteomic, and metabolomic technologies, the field of medicine has been shifting towards systems-based and personalized approaches to diagnose and treat common conditions, including rheumatic diseases. Regulatory checkpoints of metabolism and signal transduction, such as glucose utilization, mitochondrial electron transport, JAK, mTOR, and AMPK pathway activation, and production of pro-inflammatory cytokines IL-1, IL-6, and IL-17 have presented new targets for therapeutic intervention. This review amalgamates recent discoveries in genetics and metabolomics with immunological pathways of pathogenesis in rheumatic diseases.

Division of Rheumatology, Departments of Medicine, Microbiology and Immunology, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, State University of New York, Upstate Medical University, College of Medicine, Syracuse, New York, USA

Correspondence to Andras Perl, MD, PhD, State University of New York, Upstate Medical University, College of Medicine, 750 East Adams Street, Syracuse, NY 13210, USA. Tel: +1 315 464 4194; fax: +1 315 464 4176; e-mail:

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