Choline kinase inhibition in rheumatoid arthritis

M Guma, E Sanchez-Lopez, A Lodi, R Garcia-Carbonell, S Tiziani, M Karin, J C Lacal, G S Firestein
Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases 2015, 74 (7): 1399-407

OBJECTIVES: Little is known about targeting the metabolome in non-cancer conditions. Choline kinase (ChoKα), an essential enzyme for phosphatidylcholine biosynthesis, is required for cell proliferation and has been implicated in cancer invasiveness. Aggressive behaviour of fibroblast-like synoviocytes (FLS) in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) led us to evaluate whether this metabolic pathway could play a role in RA FLS function and joint damage.

METHODS: Choline metabolic profile of FLS cells was determined by (1)H magnetic resonance spectroscopy ((1)HMRS) under conditions of ChoKα inhibition. FLS function was evaluated using the ChoKα inhibitor MN58b (IC₅₀=4.2 μM). For arthritis experiments, mice were injected with K/BxN sera. MN58b (3 mg/kg) was injected daily intraperitoneal beginning on day 0 or day 4 after serum administration.

RESULTS: The enzyme is expressed in synovial tissue and in cultured RA FLS. Tumour necrosis factor (TNF) and platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF) stimulation increased ChoKα expression and levels of phosphocholine in FLS measured by Western Blot (WB) and metabolomic studies of choline-containing compounds in cultured RA FLS extracts respectively, suggesting activation of this pathway in RA synovial environment. A ChoKα inhibitor also suppressed the behaviour of cultured FLS, including cell migration and resistance to apoptosis, which might contribute to cartilage destruction in RA. In a passive K/BxN arthritis model, pharmacologic ChoKα inhibition significantly decreased arthritis in pretreatment protocols as well as in established disease.

CONCLUSIONS: These data suggest that ChoKα inhibition could be an effective strategy in inflammatory arthritis. It also suggests that targeting the metabolome can be a new treatment strategy in non-cancer conditions.

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