Immunometabolism and autoimmunity

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Abstract

A continuous increase in the prevalence of autoimmune diseases is to be expected in the aging societies worldwide. Autoimmune disorders not only cause severe disability and chronic pain, but also lead to considerable socio-economic costs. Given that the current treatment options are not curative, have substantial side effects and a high percentage of non-responders, innovative options to the existing therapeutic armament against autoimmune diseases are urgently required. Accumulating evidence suggests that changes in the metabolism of immune cells are associated with, and contribute to the pathogenesis of autoimmunity. Additionally, some autoimmune diseases share alterations in metabolic pathways, key metabolites or metabolic byproducts such as reactive oxygen species. Other examples for metabolic changes in autoimmune settings include modifications in amino acid and cholesterol levels or glucose catabolism. Thus, the emerging field of immunometabolism may hold the potential to discover new therapeutic targets. Here, we discuss recent findings describing metabolic changes in autoimmune arthritis, multiple sclerosis as well as type 1 diabetes, focusing on pathophysiological aspects.

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